Suspect’s car goes airborne during Smith’s Dairy-Jack Springs chase
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A 36-year-old Atmore man, apparently a fan of the “Dukes of Hazard” television show, took off when an Atmore police officer activated his blue lights and tried to stop him last Wednesday, April 6, because of an equipment violation.
The ensuing chase, which began around 7:30 p.m. on Alabama 21, ended shortly after the suspect took his vehicle — later found to contain a “significant amount” of marijuana — airborne and jumped a ditch in an attempt to prevent capture,
According to Sgt. Darrell McMann, APD reports show the incident began when a patrol officer spotted a Chrysler Sebring traveling north on Highway 21 without illumination on its taillights. Its driver, later identified as Daniel Dwayne Crenshaw, turned west onto Smith Dairy Road and increased speed as the APD officer activated his blue lights and siren.
Crenshaw refused to pull over and eventually lost control of his vehicle as he neared the intersection of Smith Dairy Road and Jack Springs Road, said McMann, who added that Crenshaw slammed into a parked vehicle when he drove through the yard of a Jack Springs residence.
According to police reports, Crenshaw continued driving and “jumped a ditch parallel to Jack Springs Road” in his attempt to elude what would fast become a steady stream of law enforcement vehicles that joined the chase.
McMann said the officer who initiated the pursuit lost sight of the Sebring after it cleared the ditch, but a second officer located the Chrysler a short distance away, in the front yard of another Jack Springs residence. It was badly damaged, and Crenshaw had abandoned it once it came back to earth.
The lawmen established a perimeter and requested an Alabama Department of Corrections K9 tracking team. The makeshift posse eventually discovered Crenshaw about a half hour later, hiding in a stand of thick brush. He was taken into custody without further incident.
A search of the suspect turned up in one of his pockets “a clear glass pipe with a white substance in it.” The pipe and the substance tested positive for methamphetamine. An ambulance crew arrived and checked Crenshaw for injuries, then took him to Atmore Community Hospital, where he was treated and later discharged and taken to the Escambia County Detention Center for processing.
Meanwhile, officers searched the Sebring and discovered “a large plastic baggie with a green, leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana.” Officers also found several bottles of alcoholic beverages in and around the vehicle, as well as a wallet containing Crenshaw’s identification card.
He was eventually charged by city police with one count each of first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and attempting to elude a police officer.
McMann noted that since the chase ended and the crash occurred outside Atmore’s city limits, the wreck investigation was turned over to Alabama State Troopers. The APD sergeant said troopers charged Crenshaw with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and numerous traffic citations.