Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance called out the media for "erroneous" reports about JPD's participation in a Clinton police chase of a shoplifting suspect into Jackson Monday night. The chase ended when the suspect crashed into a car driven by Lonnie Blue, Jr. at the intersection of Tennessee and Capitol Street. Chief Vance held a press conference yesterday to dispute Clinton PD's statements that JPD participated in the case. It was also announced at the press conference that JPD will charge driver Donald Jones with second degree murder once he is released from UMMC for the death of Lonnie Blue, Jr.
Chief Vance said he was "really troubled by a report on WJTV" that said a JPD cruiser actually participated in the chase. He said the JPD cruiser was going in the opposite direction and not participating in the chase. He said WJTV was "100% erroneous". Chief Vance said Clinton PD did not notify JPD about the chase until it reached its tragic end. He said a JPD officer saw the chase in progress and called JPD dispatch. He said JPD then called Clinton PD dispatch to see what was taking place. He said CPD told JPD that CPD officers were chasing a shoplifting suspect driving a car with a switched tag. He said JPD cars did not participate in the chase by blocking intersections as claimed by Clinton PD. Chief Vance said "there was no call ahead asking for assistance." Earlier post with video of chase and CPD-issued timeline of events.
JPD released this memo that stated its version of the contacts between JPD and Clinton PD regarding the chase.
Meanwhile, Clinton PD Interim Chief Michael Gill issued its own statement yesterday:
“My statements at the press conference were based on what I heard and saw in the dash camera recording as well as officer reports. In the video you can hear the CPD officer asking dispatch to notify JPD and HCSO. The dispatcher responds ‘Already notified.’ It is clear from video that JPD knew about the pursuit before the wreck.”“This is a tragedy. Our hearts and prayers are with the Blue family. Going forward we will direct our discussions with JPD regarding this incident and I hope we can continue to work together with them to make the metro area safer.”