Four arrested after chase

Four Memphis, Tenn., men are in custody and face multiple charges after leading law enforcement officers in Marshall County on a high-speed chase.

Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said deputy Kenneth Jones was on routine patrol in a subdivision Tuesday, Dec. 27, in the Highway 178 and Scenic Drive area east of Byhalia when he saw a green Ford Taurus stopped on the side of the road.

Four people were in the Taurus, he said, and one got out. None of the four would make eye contact with Jones. The vehicle did not have a tag.

Because of suspicious behavior, the deputy followed the vehicle and then turned on his blue lights. He also called dispatch for backup, and the Byhalia Police Department was notified at Jones’ request, as the pursuit was headed into the town limits. The chase began on Highway 178 at 3:53 p.m.

Gary Looney, chief of police in Byhalia, said officers attempted to block the road in the area of Church and Fuller streets.

“The vehicle left the road, went through three yards, lost control and wrecked,” Looney said.

He said all four male suspects jumped out of the automobile and ran into the woods.

Deputy Jones arrested one suspect and Byhalia officer Ben Moore arrested a second suspect in the area of Church and College streets, he said.

“The remaining two ran in the direction of the clinic, across 178, and toward the carwash,” said Looney, who headed that direction in his police vehicle.

“Agent Moore (on foot) saw them get into a white 2009 Toyota Camry, and he relayed that information to me,” the chief said.

At the same time, Marshall County 911 received a call that an automobile had been carjacked at gunpoint from the carwash.

Chief Looney picked up pursuit of the Camry on Highway 178 West.

“They refused to stop,” he said.

DeSoto County and Olive Branch authorities were notified.

Looney’s pursuit of the Camry went onto I-22 at Ingrams Mill, off at the 305 exit, through downtown Olive Branch to the Craft Road area.

Chief Looney said the chase reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour on I-22.

Olive Branch officers had a roadblock set up at Craft Road, but the suspects avoided it by leaving the highway via a ditch.

The suspects continued to flee from local law enforcement and entered Tennessee via 178.

“That’s when we discontinued our pursuit,” Looney said.

The Memphis Organized Crime Unit and U.S. Marshals later joined the investigation and the search for the other two suspects.

The Camry was found later Tuesday (of last week), about 8 p.m., abandoned in the Holmes Road area of Memphis, off Lamar.

On Thursday afternoon of last week, Marshall County authorities were contacted by the U.S. Marshals office and told the other two suspects were in custody.

All four suspects are from Memphis.

Arrested in Byhalia on Tuesday of last week, after the suspects’ vehicle was wrecked, were Cornell A. Rozell, 20, and Vincent L. Rigney, 18, according to authorities.

In Byhalia, Cornell Rozell is charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and felony receiving stolen property, Looney said. His bond was set at $27,500

By Marshall County, Cornell Rozell is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and felon in possession of a firearm, according to Dickerson. He has previous felony charges prior to this arrest, including aggravated burglary charges, the sheriff said.

In Byhalia, Rigney is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Looney said. His bond was set at $2,500.

By Marshall County, Rigney is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, according to Dickerson.

Apprehended in Mem­phis on Thursday were Kevin L. Hill Jr., 19, and Cortez F. Rozell, 20, Dickerson said.

In Byhalia, Hill is charged with armed carjacking, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, failure to yield to blue lights, disorderly conduct, failure to comply and felony receiving stolen property, Looney said. His bond was set at $220,000.

By Marshall County, Hill is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and armed carjacking, plus numerous traffic violations, according to Dickerson. Hill was the driver of the Taurus and the carjacked vehicle, Dickerson said. He awaits extradition proceedings in Memphis.

In Byhalia, Cortez Rozell is charged with armed carjacking, possession of burglary tools, disorderly conduct, failure to comply, felony receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance, according to Looney.  His bond was set at $215,000.

By Marshall County, Cortez Rozell is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and disorderly conduct, Dickerson said. He waived extradition and was transported to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Depart­ment.

Dickerson said the Taurus the four suspects were riding in contained several stolen items, including two televisions, burglary tools, checks from the home of a Memphis resident, and a handgun and shotgun which were not reported on NCIC (National Crime Information Center).

Sheriff Dickerson praised the training and observation of Deputy Jones and the pursuit that followed, as well as the work of Chief Looney and his officers.

“Local officers working together, along with the Memphis Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, led to great success in the apprehension of these dangerous suspects,” Dickerson said.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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Holly Springs, MS 38635
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