UPDATE: Tupelo chase suspect arrested

By NEMS Daily Journal

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Bond for the man accused of taking police on a high-speed chase through west Tupelo on Tuesday night was set at $10,000 on Wednesday.
Paul Howell, 40, of Tupelo is charged with felony evading by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and auto theft by the Tupelo Police Department after allegedly taking county and city law enforcement personnel on a short high-speed chase.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy spotted the SUV Howell was driving at the intersection of Coley Road and West Main Street on Tuesday night.
According to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson, after the deputy turned on his blue lights, the suspect sped off, and a chase began.
“The deputy was headed home when he saw the vehicle and when he tried to stop it, the driver sped off,” said Johnson. “The chase ended pretty quickly when the suspect ran into a light pole on Thomas Street.”
Tupelo Police Capt. Chuck Bunn said by the time police made it on the scene to assist sheriff’s deputies, the suspect already had crashed the car into a light pole on South Thomas Street near the post office.
According to reports, the police believed the SUV Howell was driving was one reported stolen from Harvey Russell’s Auto World earlier Tuesday. A person asked to test drive the vehicle and never returned it to the dealership.
Johnson said the chase was captured on the patrol car’s dash camera and will be reviewed to make sure proper procedure was followed during the pursuit and for future training. He said his deputy was at the right place at the right time.
“He was on his way home, but our deputies get to take their cars home, so he was able to spot the suspect and pursue him,” said Johnson. “This deputy was off the clock, but still did his duty as a law enforcer to help to bring in a possible suspect.”
A passenger who was in the vehicle with Howell at the time of the chase and accident was held by police, but later was released with no charges.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com

Previous update

By Tupelo Police Department Release
On Tuesday, a Tupelo car dealership filed a police report on a stolen vehicle with the Tupelo Police Department.
Last night a Lee County Sheriffs Deputy saw the stolen vehicle on W. Main Street in Tupelo and attempted to stop it.
The suspect wrecked the vehicle on S. Thomas.
The TPD assisted the LSO Deputy with the arrest of the driver, Paul Howell.
The TPD Criminal Investigation Division has charged Howell with Motor Vehicle Theft. Howell’s bond was set at $10, 000.00 by Lee County Justice Court Judge Pat Carr. The Lee County Sheriffs Office also has felony charges on Howell.
A passenger in the vehicle has been released and not charged at this time.

Previous update:
By NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A man has been arrested in connection with last night’s high-speed chase in Tupelo.
Paul Howell of Verona has been arrested and is facing charges in Lee County and Tupelo in connection with the incident. Howell faces felony evasion charges in Lee County and auto theft charges in Tupelo. No bond has been set.
Shortly before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, a car traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into a light pole at the corner of South Thomas and Lafayette streets in west Tupelo.
Shortly after 9 p.m., an off-duty police officer in his squad car spotted a SUV that possibly was one reported stolen earlier in the day in Tupelo. The officer followed the car and it resulted in a high-speed chase traveling down Jackson Street in excess of 80 miles per hour, according to scanner reports.
A bystander called the Journal and said while at the corner of Main and Thomas streets, he counted 22 police cars, both Lee County Sheriff’s Department and Tupelo Police, three fire trucks and a couple ambulances travel down Thomas Street, and said the road was blocked off.
According to Tupelo police, the case is under investigation.

We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available.