A report of stolen aluminum pipes at a mobile home park Thursday morning eventually gave way to a 23-mile high-speed chase through Long County.
According to an incident report filed by Long County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Shane Middleton, a call came in shortly before 1 a.m. of aluminum pipes being stolen from Sandy Ridge mobile home park on Post Oak Road.
Middleton said that when he arrived, he was met by the park owner, Mike Mulligan, who told him a suspect in the stolen-pipes case was inside one of the trailers. As the deputy ran a tag number provided by Mulligan and filled out a report, the suspect’s vehicle, a white pickup, moved toward the park’s exit. Middleton tried to stop the driver by turning on his cruiser’s blue lights; however, the suspect, later identified as Wade Labrone, took off at a high rate of speed.
Middleton said he chased the suspect east on Highway 196 for nearly 14 miles, exceeding 80 mph during a heavy rainstorm. At one point, according to the incident report, the suspect almost lost control of the vehicle going around a curve. He then made a right turn onto Rye Patch Road, traveling at 89 miles in a 45 mph zone.
Middleton said the suspect nearly lost control of his vehicle four times because the rain made roads slick and visibility difficult.
The deputy’s report said the suspect turned onto Moody Bridge Road, which is unpaved, still traveling at a high rate of speed. Even though the roads were flooded, the suspect made it around two curves without incident. But he failed to negotiate the third curve and the pickup rolled over.
Middleton got out of his cruiser and headed after the suspect, who climbed out of the wrecked pickup and ran toward a cow pasture that was surrounded by three electric fences.
The deputy said he and the suspect received electric shocks as the suspect sprinted 400 yards before tripping over the last fence. Middleton, who said he thought the suspect had a weapon in his hand, pointed his Taser at the suspect and commanded him to put his hands up.
The suspect followed Middleton’s instructions, lowering himself to the ground as the deputy handcuffed him. Middleton later was assisted by Deputies Danny Dinkins and Robert Poppell.
Labrone has been charged with obstruction, exceeding speed limits by more than 19-23 miles, driving on a suspended license and driving on the wrong side of the road.
Neither the deputy nor the suspect were injured during the incident.