Man leads police on high-speed chase, jailed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Red Level man landed himself a spot in the Covington County Jail after he led police officers on a high-speed chase through Northern Covington County and allegedly trying to choke his wife on Saturday evening.

Gantt Police Chief Wesley Snodgrass said Monday that his department conducted a series of traffic safety checkpoints on Saturday through a grant from the Covington County Children’s Policy Council Coalition that night.

During a checkpoint on Oakey Streak Road, the man, identified as Charles Austin Ballard, 35, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs, Snodgrass said.

Additionally, there was an open container of alcohol in plain view and a rifle in the seat of the red Chevrolet Tahoe Ballard was driving.

Snodgrass said Ballard has no identification, but told him he “lived up the road” and wanted to go get his driver’s license and bring it back.

Snodgrass advised Ballard to “hold tight” and he would run his information.

“That’s when he slammed his vehicle into drive and sped away at a high rate of speed,” Snodgrass said.

Police pursued Ballard throughout the northern portion of the county’s dirt roads at speeds of more than 85 mph, Snodgrass said.

“I lost contact with him on Barnes Bridge Road and Turkey Creek Road,” Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass said that later Saturday evening, Covington County Deputy Heath Truman responded to a domestic violence call in which the subject was “choking his wife” on Turkey Creek Road.

When Truman arrived at the residence, Ballard’s red Chevy Tahoe was at the property.

Snodgrass arrived at the scene to positively identify Ballard.

He was charged with attempting to elude, two counts of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, driving while revoked and open container.

Ballard was being held in the Covington County Jail as of press time on a $3,500 cash bond.

Snodgrass said that Ballard is perceived to be a flight risk.