MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - One man is in the Madison County jail and the search is on for another suspect after a wild police chase that crossed state lines and ended in a car wreck.
It started in Lincoln County, Tennessee around 8 a.m. on Thursday morning and made for quite the scene when it all came to a screeching halt on a busy highway in Madison County.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office got a call that some people were breaking into a vehicle in their jurisdiction.
When deputies spotted the suspects' car, a high speed chase started and went into Madison County where the the vehicle at the center of the pursuit lost control. Witnesses who saw the crash jumped into action.
Ryan Gatlin was on his forklift helping a customer at Across the Pond on Highway 231 when he heard a very loud noise in front of the business.
"I saw the car sliding through the median. It came all the way across the four lane highway and when it hit the ditch, the driver of the car came flying out the door on impact," he said.
Gatlin pointed police in the right direction as the suspects ran away from the wreck. Lots of police were following right behind the car and deputies hopped out to chase after them.
"They continued southbound and lost control of their vehicle on the crest of Mount Sharon Road. They struck another vehicle that was going north. No one was injured, thankfully," said Lt. Donny Shaw, spokesman for the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle came to rest in front of Bennett Nursery and Across the Pond.
"Two black males left the vehicle and were running. One of them was detained. He's in custody. He will be going to our Criminal Investigations Division for questioning. There was another black male on foot," Lt. Shaw stated on the scene.
A K-9 unit from Huntsville PD was brought in to help in the search. Authorities are still searching for the second suspect who could be armed.
"Some witnesses told our investigators they saw him pick up a weapon off the ground and continue running," Lt. Shaw added.
He described the suspect who is still being sought as having a medium build, wearing a red shirt, 6' tall, around 24-25 years old.
"It always creates a hazard whenever someone runs from law enforcement," Lt. Shaw added.
Gatlin rushed to make sure customers were safe.
"We had customers in the backyard where we sell fish, fountains, grills. There's all kinds of place to hide back there. I grabbed by manager and we ran back there to make sure there were no customers in danger. We did a quick sweep and didn't see anyone and we came back out to try to help law enforcement," he said. "It was all a fast paced blur."
Over at the nursery, one of the employees, Lionel Eben, grabbed one of the suspects.
"He slipped and I went after him to try to hold him down. He told me to let him go but I told him no. But I slipped myself too and he was gone," he explained.
His efforts helped slow the fleeing man down and he was captured. On Thursday afternoon, Lt. Shaw identified the suspect as Derell Hamlett, 24.
He's charged with Receiving Stolen Property. Other Charges are pending, according to Shaw.
The vehicle the duo was in had been reported stolen to Huntsville Police. Officials say some property from Tennessee has been recovered from the car.
Authorities are still searching for the other man who was with Hamlett.
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