Suspect arrested after chase

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tuesday night was not a typical day at the office for many law enforcement officers in the area. An armed robbery sparked a wild chase that ended near Selma and resulted in the arrest of a Dallas County man.

After a police chase, accident, armed robbery and manhunt Jerry Jerome Blakes’, 33, run ended shortly after midnight. Blakes, who fled after allegedly robbing the Demopolis ABC Store located at 1313 U.S. Highway 80 East, left the scene at a high rate of speed making him difficult to track. Demopolis authorities were called to the scene and began an almost six hour chase.

Blakes was reported to have entered the ABC wholesale store armed with a gun, demanded money and fled.

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Officers were told the suspect fled the scene in an older model red Dodge van. Much to Blakes dismay, they were also given an excellent description of the suspect and the vehicle, which led authorities to track him down. Demopolis Police Chief Jeff Manuel said the description played an enormous role in making an arrest.

“The description was very helpful,” Manuel said. “I can’t stress how important that was. The clerk did an excellent job and I would like to publicly commend her for that.”

Officers from Demopolis and the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department located the suspect’s vehicle near Uniontown, which was the first step in his apprehension.

However, when they attempted to stop the vehicle Blakes refused to yield and fled at a high rate of speed. Officers continued pursuit until the driver ran off the roadway and crashed in a highway construction zone near the 61-mile marker in Dallas County.

Blakes van crashed into a ditch just off the highway in the vicinity of Harvest Fresh Catfish Farms. Blakes then hit the woods before being tracked down some time later.

After Blakes headed for the woods officers from several law enforcement agencies responded to the scene to set up a perimeter while waiting for additional support. Several West Alabama agencies responded along with Alabama State Troopers and the Tuscaloosa Police Department, who provided the air support. Tracking dogs were also called in from the Alabama Department of Corrections and Elmore County.

Manuel said the support from other law enforcement agencies also played a huge role in making the arrest.

“Everyone was very helpful in assisting us in the investigation,” Manuel said. “We were very pleased with the cooperation we received from neighboring law enforcement agencies.”

In the end there was nowhere for Blakes to go and he was taken into custody.

The apprehension of Blakes gave officers insight into another crime as the vehicle he was driving was discovered to be stolen from Pascagoula, Miss. in April.

As of today, Blakes will face charges of robbery, first degree and receiving stolen property, first degree.

An undisclosed amount of money and a handgun were recovered from the scene.

Upon his arrest, Blakes was taken to the Marengo County Jail where he is being held. No bond had been set at press time