Florida Woman Leads Authorities On Interstate Chase

February 2, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

A Florida woman took local authorities on a high speed chase Friday morning spanning ten miles of Interstate-10. Her excuse: She did not think it was a real officer trying to pull her over. As KPLC's Lee Peck reports: When should you stop?

Interstate-10 is the busiest highway in the country. It was eastbound Friday morning, near Sulphur, that one driver caught the attention of a patrol officer.

"I noticed a maroon Chevy Impala pass me at a high rate of speed, she was also tailgating another vehicle," recalled Sulphur Police Officer Mark Fontenot.

With lights and sirens blaring, Fontenot followed the car bearing Florida plates for nearly two miles before the driver exited onto Beglis Parkway in Sulphur. Rather than pullover and stop, the woman driver ignored the lights and sirens, choosing to get back on the interstate and continue eastbound.

As her speed accelerated to 75 miles an hour, officer Fontenot called for backup. "As I called for help, other vehicles were moving over to the left and right. They could see my lights possibly hear my sirens, they didn't know what was going on. They moved out of the way, she continued to keep driving," said Fontenot.

The pursuit would lead more than eight officers over the I-10 bridge where she finally pulled over. "We stopped her, we secured her in handcuffs for our safety, checked the vehicle for any kind of contraband or anything like that," said Fontenot.

While the search produced nothing, the woman explained she did not think officer Fontenot was a real officer. He says that does not excuse her actions. "When you see lights and sirens you should always stop. If you're not sure, pull over to a gas station. There was two gas stations with plenty of people. You don't get back on the interstate and continue driving," said Fontenot.

Eventually the woman was let go with a ticket for speeding and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Again, if you are not sure the person pulling you over is a real officer: You are advised to pull over and stop at the nearest location where there are plenty of people. All officers should be in uniform and carry a badge.