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After high-speed chase, Floral man fought the law — and the law won

Late Tuesday night (Feb. 12), a Floral man fled from Independence County deputies after officers attempted to stop the vehicle for careless and prohibited driving.

Deputy Bobby Lockard and Sgt. Bret Ward were working in the area of Morgan and Sixth Streets in Newark when a vehicle accelerated quickly down the roadway, sliding sideways in the gravel. When emergency lights were initiated by the officers, the vehicle sped away.

The Independence County Circuit Court information said officers were led on a high-speed chase, sometimes at speeds over 100 mph.

The chase led to Cleghorn Chapel Road where the vehicle, hemmed in by the two officers’ vehicles, struck Ward’s patrol unit as it tried to evade being stopped. When it went off Cleghorn Chapel Road, the driver leaped from the vehicle and jumped through a barbed wire fence and into a pasture.

Officers pursued on foot, catching the suspect and taking him into custody. Officers said they could tell he was intoxicated by his slurred speech, red watery eyes, and a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the suspect. He was identified as Joshua Lynn Jennings, 35, of Floral.

As he was being helped back through the barbed wire fence, Jennings again tried to escape officers and was again put on the ground by two officers who had also arrived on scene. Jennings was then placed into a patrol unit and taken to jail.

Detective Michael Moody reviewed the case on behalf of the Independence County Sheriff’s Department and requested a warrant to be issued for Jennings, and for him to be charged with: aggravated assault, a felony; fleeing in a vehicle, a felony; careless and prohibited driving; driving while intoxicated; and refusal to submit to a chemical test.

And Jennings is being charged as a habitual offender, having previously been convicted of more than one but fewer than four felonies.

Jennings is in jail and has been placed on a $100,000 bond.

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