Suspects jump from car during chase

Police found cocaine in the car.

Police arrested three suspects after a Saturday morning car chase involving drug use, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jessie Haden said.

A little before 2 a.m. Oct. 2 CPD Officer Chris Hessenflow, assigned to the DWI unit, saw a car weaving in and out of traffic on Grindstone Parkway.

The speed of the vehicle varied, going as low at 30 mph and as high as 50 mph. The erratic driving nearly caused an accident.

“Thankfully the other driver was being attentive and was able to get out of the way and brake before the vehicles collided,” Haden said.

Haden said the light traffic and good weather were ideal for a police pursuit.

“Clearly we’ve seen dangerous driving, but you have to take a lot of things into consideration before pursuing, so you don’t create a bigger hazard,” she said.

The vehicle exited at the U.S. 63 northbound connecter. Hessenflow followed the car on Clark Lane. Although the traffic light was red, Hessenflow pursued the vehicle because traffic was sparse.

The vehicle slowed down at an apartment complex and the front passenger jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran. The vehicle slowed again on Hendrix Drive and the driver and two other passengers jumped out. The unattended vehicle crashed moments later.

Passenger Rodney Clarkson was almost apprehended while climbing a fence, but he managed to kick the officer away, Haden said. Eventually, an assisting officer caught Clarkson along with the first passenger to jump out of the vehicle, Warren Washington.

An assisting K-9 officer caught the driver, Jordan Elam, Haden said.

Officers reviewed videos of the scene but were unable to find anything that might help catch the fourth suspect. In questioning, Haden said Elam genuinely didn’t seem like he knew the full name of the suspect.

On top of charges of resisting arrest and previous warrants for both Washington and Clarkson, all three men were charged with possession of illegal substances.

Officers found a bag in the front passenger door handle with cocaine residue. Once the car was towed, the tow company found another bag containing a substance consistent with crack cocaine.

Elam failed sobriety tests. He also declined to take a breathalyzer test for his blood alcohol level, but admitted to using marijuana prior to driving.

Officers are still looking for the fourth suspect.

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