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Drug dealers chased, jailed

Two Pensacola, Fla., men are facing a multitude of charges, including two counts of attempted murder, after they allegedly attempted to sell illegal drugs to a group of young adults on the Court Square.

Andalusia’s assistant chief Mike Bowlan said APD dispatch received a call at approximately 11:30 p.m., where the caller described the alleged entrepreneurs as two black males in a Nissan car bearing Florida plates.

“Immediately, officers in the area began to search for the vehicle, and it wasn’t long before Officer Steve McGowin spotted the vehicle at a convenience store near the intersection of (U.S. Hwy.) 84 and (U.S. Hwy.) 29,” Bowlan said.

Reports show McGowin attempted to initiate a traffic stop near Pioneer Drive, but the vehicle sped away — ultimately leading officers, as well as Covington County Sheriff’s deputies, on a high-speed chase up U.S. Hwy. 29.

“At one point the driver of the suspect vehicle attempted to turn onto Fire Tower Road, but the high rate of speed prevented that, thus forcing the vehicle into the yard of a nearby residence,” Bowlan said.

Bowlan said officers noticed items being thrown from the suspects’ vehicle near the river bridge in Gantt.

“As the pursuit continued north through Gantt to a spot just south of Dunns Bridge Road, the suspect vehicle collided with a Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicle, threatening the lives of the two occupants,” Bowlan said. “It abruptly stopped in the highway and was struck by an APD vehicle driven by Office Chase Phillips.”

Bowlan said the vehicle slowed and was finally disabled when officers were able to fire shots into the suspects’ vehicle’s tires. The two occupants of the vehicle — identified as Bennie Charles DeLoach Jr. and Leonard L. Pleasant — were taken into custody, and later transported to Andalusia Regional Hospital where they were treated and released.

The occupants of the Sheriff’s Department vehicle, Deputy Kevin Wise and Sheriff’s Posse Member Joe Barton, were uninjured.

Deloach, 21, is charged with felony attempting to elude law enforcement, reckless driving, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of attempted murder. He was booked into the county jail under a $1,619,000 bond.

Pleasant, 21, who gave officers two different last names, faces similar charges with the exception of driving violations. He was also charged with giving false information to a law enforcement officer and was placed in the county jail under a $1,578,000 bond.

A subsequent search of the area near the river bridge in Gantt yielded several packages of suspected marijuana and cocaine, Bowlan said.

“This incident was serious in nature, first off, that it was reported that the suspects approached and attempted to sell drugs to young adults on the square,” Bowlan said. “Thankfully, the young adults acted quickly and contacted the police department about the encounter.

“This demonstrates the willingness of our youth to make the right choice and to care enough about their peers to report such activity,” he said. “We should all use this example set by the youngsters and get involved. Often times people think, ‘It’s none of my business’ or ‘I’m not going to get involved.’

“The community belongs to us all and we should all take measures to protect it,” he said.