Residents help nab suspect after chase

Residents help nab suspect after chase


A group of engaged Forestdale residents assisted in the arrest of a Georgia man who led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through town in a stolen vehicle Monday and crashed in their community east of town, the authorities said.

The man, Charles Webb, 33, of Chickamauga, Ga., was arrested and charged with felony fleeing and possession of a stolen vehicle, Police Chief Eric Lyons said. The vehicle, a gray Toyota Camry, was reported stolen from Gulfport on Friday.

Webb was arrested by Neshoba County Sheriff’s deputies on Road 491 in between Highway 16 East and Road 640 after he crashed the stolen vehicle near the Dollar General on Highway 16 east. 

Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said Forestdale residents were communicating with each other through a messaging app.

“Once they knew he was in their area the Forestdale community started communicating on their app,” Clark said. “Everyone in the community was on alert trying to help law enforcement apprehend the suspect.”

Clark said locals quickly notified deputies of a series of trails in the area that local hunters and outdoorsmen use. 

He said a female resident with a concealed carry permit encountered Webb on Road 640 as he was exiting one of these trails where she drew her gun for her safety. Clark said the woman was in her vehicle and was close to her home.

According to Clark, the encounter with the woman drove Webb back into the wooded area and back out in the open near Road 491 where he was quickly apprehended by a Sheriff’s deputy around 9:45 a.m.

Lyons said the chase began when Philadelphia PD officers received info of a possible stolen vehicle coming into town on Holland Avenue at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, Feb. 27.

Officers located the vehicle near Holland Avenue and Beacon Street and attempted to make a traffic stop. He said the driver refused to stop and traveled west on Myrtle Street and then back onto Main Street headed eastbound out of town. 

According to Lyons, the vehicle continued to flee at over 100 miles per hour. The vehicle then attempted to turn onto Road 491 and crashed into a wooded area near Dollar General and the occupants fled on foot. 

“Multiple agencies assisted in locating the suspect and he was located a short time later,” Lyons said. 

Lyons said the chase concluded at approximately 9:45 a.m.

During the chase through town, the suspect vehicle and law enforcement units came close to Philadelphia High School. 

Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Shannon Whitehead said school officials initiated a “soft lockdown” for approximately two minutes during this time. 

A social media post form the district noted the lockdown was lifted at 9:08 a.m. and said, “All students are safe and the high school is back on normal schedule.”

Whitehead said no announcement was made and no operations of the school were disrupted. School officials were aware that a chase was taking place and were monitoring the situation due to its close proximity to the school, she said.

“We wanted to ensure that our students and the school district were safe,” Whitehead said.

Lyons said he was unaware of the soft lockdown at PHS and said he had not communicated directly with school officials. 

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