Sheriff scuffles with suspect at Walmart

Published 9:36 pm Monday, January 12, 2015

A man wanted on felony warrants and his girlfriend are behind bars after an altercation at Walmart with the sheriff that left the sheriff with two fractured bones.

Officers also a meth lab was found in the couple’s vehicle.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks and his wife, Altheia, stopped by Andalusia Walmart Sunday morning, he said.

David Chandler

David Chandler


“As we were checking out, I recognized someone that I thought had warrants out,” Meeks said. “I called into the office and, sure enough, (there were) two felony warrants on him.”

Meeks said he confronted the man, David Chandler, 35, and attempted to arrest him, which led to a scuffle inside the store.

“He resisted arrest, and we had a tussle for awhile inside Walmart,” Meeks said. “He got away and took off running to the grocery end, and I went out the main door. His girlfriend had gone off and gotten into the vehicle and was going toward him.”

Another man attempted to help Meeks in the scuffle and chased Chandler through the grocery exit.

Meeks said he made it to a vehicle driven by Tonya Sanders, 36, as she attempted to help Chandler flee.

“We both made it to the vehicle at the same time and that’s where the second encounter took place,” Meeks said. “We went down to the ground, and somewhere in the midst of that I got the two fractures on my ankle, but I didn’t realize it then.”

Meeks said officers from the Andalusia Police Department showed up to the store to offer assistance and make the arrest.

“They got him handcuffed, and then when I went to get up, I put weight on my right foot and thought, ‘oh shoot, something ain’t right.’” Meeks said.

He visited the Andalusia Regional Hospital ER and learned he had two fractures to his ankle.

“I just went to Dr. Gil Holland’s office and luckily they’re not going to have to put any pins in it,” Meeks said Monday morning. “The ER thought they might have to, but the doctor said he thought I’d be OK.”

Meeks said he will be in and out of the Sheriff’s office, but will try to take it easy as he lets his leg heal.

“I wish I could find out who that Good Samaritan was,” Meeks said. “Whoever it was that helped out, I wish he would call the office so that I could get up with him.”

The APD and Drug Task Force assisted in the arrest of Chandler and Sanders.

DTF Investigator David Harrell said a shake-n-bake meth lab was found in the back seat of the SUV that Sanders was driving.

“We found methamphetamine and cocaine in the vehicle, and arrested both for possession of a controlled substance, manufacturing and felony possession of drug paraphernalia,” Harrell said. “Once we got Chandler to the county jail, corrections officers located marijuana in his back pocket.”

Harrell said approximately a gram of cocaine and finished meth were found in the vehicle, as well as the shake-n-bake lab, and enough marijuana for personal use.

Chandler is currently being held on a $505,000 bond for charges of manufacturing I, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault II, resisting arrest, violation of probation, two counts of failure to appear (receiving stolen property) and possession of marijuana II.

Sanders is currently being held on a $293,000 bond for manufacturing I, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest.