The couple arrested in connection with a vehicle theft and high-speed chase Thursday were likely on a multi-state crime spree according to Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards.
Both individuals have extensive criminal records and outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions, he said.
Robert Oneal Turner, 42, and Melissa Louise Hawks, 41, were apprehended on a creek bank in the Bald Hill area about midnight Thursday. Hawks is from Chattanooga, Tenn. and while Turner gave no address, officers believe he is from Tennessee also.
The incident began about noon Thursday when the suspects allegedly took a white Nissan Armada from the Walnut Post Office parking lot while the owner was inside.
Once alerted, MHP Troopers spotted the vehicle headed south on Hwy. 15 and began pursuit.
“I’m almost positive the last time MHP clocked them they were doing over 130 miles an hour,” Edwards said. “They were going fast.”
The Union County Sheriff’s Department joined the chase between New Albany and Ingomar. “They turned off on 101 at Ingomar and MHP lost sight of them,” Edwards said.
Officers began talking with neighbors in the area and tracked the vehicle to the Bald Hill area, where the suspects had abandoned it and fled. It was recovered unharmed.
Officers began a search hampered by dense undergrowth where they encountered a heavy mosquito population and nearly a dozen cottonmouths. Edwards said by this time they had communicated with Tippah County officials and had some idea who they were looking for.
About midnight, one of the deputies found the two on a creek bank where they apparently were sleeping, and took them into custody without further incident.
“She is wanted for vehicle theft in Chattanooga with full extradition,” the sheriff said. “He is wanted out of Indiana for something but with in-state extradition only so I doubt they will come get him.”
The two may have been involved in more local crimes.
“We believe Alcorn SO got after the same two on Wednesday but they wrecked and got away,” Edwards said. “They were in possession of a stolen car from Alabama.”
“We hear Alabama possibly has other warrants on one or both of them,” he added.
Of course, Walnut police will be bringing charges over the vehicle theft.
“We charged them with possession of stolen property more than $25,000 and I assume MHP or MBI will charge them with felony fleeing,” Edwards said.
“We don’t know who all and where all is going to want them,” he said. “It’s still a little early.”
Edwards said bond for each in Union County was set at $25,000 but in reality the two are not bondable due to the warrants and likely other charges.
“We knew we had to keep looking for them,” the sheriff said, because there was no way of knowing what harm they might cause if they got away.
“She’s 41 and he’s 42. These are not just a couple of kids who made a bad decision,” he said. “They’ve been doing this a long time.”arrest, chase, crime, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, spree, theft, Union County, vehicle, Walnut