A Samson man was taken into custody Monday night after investigators said he fled officers and stole the Samson Police Chief’s vehicle.
Zachery Owens, 26, was arrested Monday after eluding Samson police officers before stealing and wrecking the police chief’s vehicle.
“From my understanding officers were trying to pull Owens over for suspicion of driving under the influence,” said Geneva County Sheriff Tony Helms. “However, Owens eluded officers, and they were later able to catch up with him at a local boat landing. A deputy was dispatched out because the chase had reached outside of the Samson city limits. When the deputy arrived at the landing, an officer informed him the suspect had fled the area. The officer then informed the deputy that Owens stole Samson Police Chief Jimmy Hill’s vehicle and the chief had taken that officers’ vehicle to pursue Owens.”
Hill’s vehicle was soon found wrecked in a ditch, and Owens had fled into a wooded area, Helms said.
According to Hill, an officer noticed Owens making a left turn in the wrong lane, nearly striking a vehicle.
“The officer activated his lights and siren and pursued Owens down Columbus Holley Road,” Hill said. “The officer then called to inform dispatch two people jumped out of the back seat of the suspect’s vehicle. As the vehicle made a right turn on Highway 153 South, the officer got his vehicle beside the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect’s vehicle truck the officer’s vehicle, but the officer was able to force the suspect’s vehicle in the ditch.”
Hill stated Owens pushed an 11-year-old female front seat passenger out and fled on foot. After short foot chase, the officer caught up with Owens and placed him under arrest, Hill said.
According to Hill, while officers searched for items thrown out of Owens’ vehicle during the pursuit, Owens was able to get his handcuffs from behind his back to the front.
Owens then took off in Hill’s patrol car.
“Covington County Sheriff’s Office agreed to bring their dog posse to assist,” Helms said. “Owens was soon located and taken into custody.”
Helms said Owens has a lengthy history with law enforcement, and at the time of his arrest, the courts were in the process of terminating Owens’ participation with the county’s Community Corrections Program.
“From my understanding a motion had been filed terminating Owens from the program,” Helms said. “He had made it two weeks, but was not following the proper procedures.”
Owens is charged with attempting to elude, first-degree theft of property, reckless endangerment, DUI, resisting arrest and third-degree escape. Other occupants of the vehicle have been identified and warrants are being obtained for their arrests.
The 11-year-old child was interviewed and safely returned to her parents, Hill said, adding that the child said she was scared, but was unharmed.