It was a scene like you might see in a movie-- thousands of dollars in cash blowing around outside near America's Best Suites Tuesday afternoon. The money apparently got away from several suspects who wrecked next to the hotel parking lot-- only after a high speed chase.
It all started with an attempted traffic stop in Sulphur at Highway 108 and Interstate 10. Officers chased the suspects across the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge.
KPLC's Lee Peck was on the way to work behind two responding officers when he saw guns drawn and a suspect on the ground. With his cell phone camera he documented the unlikely scene-- money in the wind with police scattering to retrieve it all.
Officers arrest one suspect at the hotel and continue to retrieve the cash north of the hotel as well as on the east side, near where the suspect vehicle was ditched.
At first, there's conflicting information about whether there are three or four suspects. Eventually there are two suspects in custody and at last word police were looking for a third.
LCPD Sgt. Mark Kraus questions the second suspect about where he got all the cash. The suspect tells officers it was from his income tax check.
From the hotel, police from different agencies search for the suspects-- some on foot and some in vehicles.
Back in the hotel parking lot, it might have been any crime scene except there were police carrying bags of cash --cash that had been recovered when it all started--after the car with Colorado plates wrecked and was ditched.
One Lake Charles police officer tells a Sulphur cop what he saw. "There were four of them. They bailed out. They came out and by the time I came back around the car was just sitting here and there was cash on the north side of the hotel. I got it." The Sulphur officer tells him, "I got one standing in the parking lot."
Meanwhile, several State Police are about to enter a side door into the hotel as we try to keep up with our camera. The officer warns, "You might not want to follow to closely mam. Why don't you stand back a little bit because we're looking for someone."
Sulphur Police are heading up the case since it all started with their traffic stop, though spokesman Mel Estess admits the investigation is just getting started. "Right prior to 2 o'clock in Sulphur one of our narcotics units were attempting to make a traffic stop at 108 and I-10 and the vehicle began to flee. And the pursuit started and ended up here at the hotel here."
And so at the beach, the boardwalk and along the water the search continued laving many questions about the suspects, the money and why they were running. Sulphur officials say they probably won't have answers until Wednesday.
Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved
Late this evening Sulphur Police Issued the following news release:
According to Chief of Police Lewis Coats, Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at approximately 1:50 PM, officers of the Sulphur Police Department were attempting to make a traffic stop at Hwy. 108 and I-10 when the driver ran.
Officers of the Sulphur Police Department's pursuit proceeded north on Hwy 108 through Sulphur to Westlake, through Westlake back to I-10 and over the I-10 Bridge ending at the American Best Suits on Lake Shore Drive in Lake Charles where the vehicle crash behind the parking lot of the motel. Sulphur Police were joined by the Lake Charles Police Department, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police.
As the suspects fled the vehicle, two were apprehended and is in custody and one is still at large at this time. The suspect at large is described as a black male, light to medium skin wearing white shirt either black or plaid short's with tattoo sleeve on right arm.
The incident is being investigated by the Detective Division of the Sulphur Police Department. No further information is available at this time with a possible update Wednesday morning.
If anyone has any information concerning this incident please contact the Sulphur Police Department at 527-4550.