Driver eludes cops, canines

Published 1:02 am Friday, September 28, 2018

An area man is in jail after eluding police in his vehicle and on foot in the wee hours of the morning Thursday.

Just after 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Officer Greg Wetzel was performing security checks on businesses on Dr. MLK Jr. Expressway when he noticed a vehicle passing by with an expired license plate. Officer Wetzel then attempted to execute a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver, identified as 39-year-old Charles Austin Ballard of Dozier, refused to stop and led Officer Wetzel on a high speed chase outside the city limits into the Babbie area.

Covington County deputies joined the chase and were able to deploy spike strips to stop the vehicle. After his vehicle was disabled, Ballard fled the vehicle on foot into the woods. The canine tracking unit from the Covington County Sheriff’s Department was called to assist in tracking the suspect.

Ballard was able to elude the dogs, but he was noticed walking along Airport Road by a passerby around 8:45 a.m. Thursday. Covington County deputies were called and made contact with him and took him into custody on outstanding county warrants.

Ballard faces charges of attempting to elude law enforcement as well as several traffic citations stemming from the chase. He is currently being held in the Covington County Jail on county charges. He also faces charges from the River Falls Police Department.

Andalusia Police Chief Paul Hudson expressed his thanks to the Covington County Sheriff’s Department and the canine tracking team for their assistance during this incident.