Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rankin Woman Killed By Fleeing Felon

Press Release From Flowood Police Department

A Jackson man is in custody after multi-jurisdictional pursuit tragically claims the life of a Rankin County woman. The Rankin County woman’s identity is being withheld until notification of family.

The pursuit originated in the City of Ridgeland where Robert Williams (Jackson MS – Convicted Felon out of MS & GA) and Melinda Renae Rutherford (Ripley MS – No Prior Felony) went into a Ridgeland business and committed felony shoplifting.

Ridgeland officers attempted to take the two into custody and in doing so, WILLAMS attempted to strike the officers with his 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis. WILLIAMS & RUTHERFORD then fled and lead law enforcement on a multi-jurisdictional pursuit that went across the spillway into Rankin County and ended in a fatal crash at the intersection of Grants Ferry Road and Lakeland Drive in Flowood.

The fatality victim was taken to UMC where she was pronounced dead from her injuries. The suspected thieves were also transported to UMC where their condition is unknown at this time. There are no other injuries reported at this time. The crash is currently being investigated by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol’s Crash Unit.

Upon being released from UMC, WILLIAMS will be taken to the Rankin County Jail and will be charged with a number of felonies including Felony Fleeing that resulted in the death of another and Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer. Rutherford will be transported to the Ridgeland Police Department to face charges in that city.

TRN took the following screen shots of the accident from MDOT cameras at Lakeland and Grants Ferry.

click photos to enlarge









The Rez News
Barnett Reservoir

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great reporting Rez News. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Please pray for the 2 Northwest Students who lost their mother in this tragic accident when she was hit by the vehicle being chased by Ridgeland police.

Anonymous said...

Question-
Why didn't rez patrol either block spillway rd or put down tire shredding devices if they had word from Ridgeland PD on this pursuit?
Next question: what on earth did these crooks steal that was worth so much that a human life would be lost due to a high speed pursuit?

Anonymous said...

Prosecutions...heads should roll. Start with Rez Patrol's lack of involvement. Next, whomever told them to pursue. Next, the pursuers.
Killed b/c of a pursuit OVER FRIGGIN GROCERIES.

Anonymous said...

What dollar amount is the cut-off to pursue somebody? This was a felony case! When a car attempts to run over another police car should you pursue it? If somebody is attempting to flee at 90 MPH should that be a reason to call off pursuit? Hey I know lets fire all the police and just resort to vigilanty justice. You got a problem dont call the police. Handle it yourself and you deal with the lawyers and the constitution. Yes it is a sad day for our community, lets use this tragedy to improve communications between agencies. So that we stop criminals and protect the innocent.

Anonymous said...

If you listen carefully, you will notice that the officers on Spillway near Hugh Ward said the vehicle was going about 90mph, AND he said to "call it." The ?Rankin Sheriff wanted to set out strips at 471. That was if they got there before the vehicle. Flowood or Rankin SO also clearly stated, "Don't get in this guys way." At 90mph everyone in Rankin County acted with caution! Ridgeland PD has the problem. Due to them we lost one of our residents!

Anonymous said...

LOL prosecute those that weren't involved, thats funny. Prosecute whomever told them to pursue, okay Kroger manager you getting sued for calling the police and telling them yes i will sign charges. Your emotion and lack of facts make you sound silly. Do you really think they fled because of stolen groceries? No, thats just what caught the attention of the law, and in no where of your rant do you state; persecute the offenders, as if it is not their fault, it was all the lawman's fault for making them flee. As facts are made known, more will be known about the criminals, and why they did what they did. heart felt condolences for the innocent victim and her family.

Anonymous said...

I am so aggrivated with all of the people who jump down the throat of police men who are doing their jobs! They chased these people not only because they stole, but because they tried to hit a police man. Hey, here's an idea... let's blame the one that's actually responsible. I think the one accountable for all of this is the criminal! You weren't in the car with these police men hoping that they didn't hurt themselves or anyone else. You weren't there when they had to tell those children that their mom wasn't coming back. Police men are only human. They have families that love them and care about them too, yet go to work everyday to protect all of you. It's funny everyone hates a cop until they need one, and then they're so grateful that they're there. Police men are brave, strong, intelligent, caring and selfless individuals who put their lives on the line everyday for YOU!!! We should ALWAYS appreciate them!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

To those of you who have the nerve to persecute the Deputies and Police for doing their jobs. If you think what they did is so horrible, than why don't you put on that badge and gun, and try walking a mile in there shoes. See what they have to see everyday, go head to head with societies worst individuals, and still have nerves of steel like they do. Lets see what decision you would have made if this criminal would have tried to run over you. I'll bet you will have a different opinion about those officers who were involved. They did the job that we pay them to do. Although what happened is tragic, if the officers could have prevented it, they would have. Blame Robert Williams, the criminal that fled from the Police, not the Police that are here to save you from people like him.

Anonymous said...

In every CIVILIZED city, they have a set of rules on when to call off a police chase. Number one is if it heads towards a congested area.

You can't outrun a radio and there are only a handful of ways off Spillway rd. To radio ahead and set up police at each of these is a no-brainer. It doesn't take above-standard intelligence to grasp this. Unfortunately the Ridgeland p.d., and apparently a large number of people they serve, are quite a bit below par.

Anonymous said...

Funny that you say they're selfless. Where was the selfless and intelligent policemen when my Aunt got killed. She was going to pick up her kids for God's sake! It was not only the criminals but also the police. It was a lack of responsibility and intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Although what happened is tragic... Wow, tell that to her 2 kids, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins, father, mother, fiance, and friends. You do not know the half of what we are all going through. Justice was not at all served.

Anonymous said...

My family was there and saw everything. To see that whole incident has left me absolutely heartbroken. I totally blame Robert Williams for everything but I do agree that they should not have pursued once he hit hwy 25. The cops did back off buy it was too late at that point. I Just think we all need to focus on praying for comfort for her family during this awful tragic time in their life. So so sad!!!

Anonymous said...

It is horrible when something like this happens. But I guess, just like WLBT weatherman Eric Law, the police will get the blame for this. If you listen to the recorded audio, you will hear sirens blaring, telling the driver to STOP!!!! STOP!!!! STOP!!!! I just do not believe Ridgeland Police was pushing the car when it crashed. When somebody is fleeing and hits a police car and barely misses the police, shoplifting is no longer a priority. Consider this, how would YOU feel if YOUR stuff was stolen and the police made no effort to stop the theft?
Yes, I do realize an innocent person was killed, but innocent people are killed everyday in crashes. I happen to know this first hand.
You want somebody to blame? Blame the thug that caused the crash.

Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathy goes out to your family!!! I can't come close to imagining What you all are going through. You are in my prayers!!!

Anonymous said...

You notice a trend here? It's never the crooks nor cops seriously wounded or killed in these high speed pursuits. No, the ones who pay with their lives are innocent bystanders and who pay with their dollars are all the citizens paying to defend the pursuer in court and in a settlement with the dead's lawyer.
Lives and millions for dirty harry wannabes to get their rocks off over grocery theft.
Totally pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Has the concept of ''discretionary judgement'' been lost here in the minds of the pursueing?

Anonymous said...

With so many news stories and media coverage, what happened to the groceries?

Anonymous said...

To have a felony shoplifting charge you have to have more than $500 worth of goods. That's a lot of groceries. I'm looking at these pics and there is NO Groceries in this mans car. So was he caught coming out of the store? No b/c he wouldn't have been able to "try to run over a cop". I'm really confused about what actually went down. No telling what REALLY happened!!!!

Anonymous said...

Rankin SO deputy told me tonight that their dept was unaware of chase til it had reached Spillway Rd east of old fannin/northshore intersection yet they were prepared to lay spikes down Hugh Ward...don't make a lot of sense. Does audo weigh that out?

Anonymous said...

An officer, assuming Reservoir b/c on Spillway, on the Spillway heading west saw the chase and radioed to dispatch. Dispatch confirmed chase and that they were on the phone with RPD.

Listening to the tapes indicates that. RSO probably did not know about it until after they left Spillway based on this. They were travelling at 90mph estimated. Spikes were not discussed until well after Hugh Ward.

You sound like you are trying to confuse the facts contained in the recording 7:50PM.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it. The felon needs his fingers cut off for stealing. After which he needs to be tried, found guilty and executed for taking a life. Not put in jail and taken care of by taxpayers. The different police agencies have to communicate better. If better radio systems are needed, let's figure it out. What about backing off and using a helicopter? I have a hard time believing that 5 police agencies could not have stopped this somehow. Meantime, I am finding out what an incredible person this lay was. Our community owes it to her and and her children to come up with a solution so this doesn't happen again. Praying for her kids and family.

Anonymous said...

1142. No not trying to confuse facts. Just posting what the deputy told me. Don't wanna listen to the audio b/c I don't want to get even more pissed than already am 'bout this whole thing

Anonymous said...

The audio clearly states the reason for the high speed pursuit was shoplifting. There was no mention of striking, harming, injuring or threats to RPD. The audio, near the end, also reports hood damage to a police vehicle. Did the hood's damage occur at the Kroger parking lot or at the scene of the accident?

Anonymous said...

10:25, I concur. It sounds the hood damage occured when they sped past officers trying to block the car near the 471 intersection in Rankin County (not ridgeland). In my opinion this also shows there were some law enforcement officers ahead of the speeding suspect. Spike strips could have been thrown out at this juncture. In my opinion, RPD seems at fault for not doing a better job of communicating with the other agencies involved. In addition for chasing a car at 90mph into Rankin County. Very sad all around.