Multi-county chase ends in arrest

Police blocked in Goodwin’s vehicle, which didn’t have a license plate, after he crashed on a four-wheeler trail.

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
HAMILTON — Jerald Goodwin, 38, of Hamilton, was arrested and charged with felony attempting to elude on Friday morning, Feb. 9, after leading Hamilton, Hackleburg and Franklin County police on a lengthy pursuit.
Hamilton Police Chief Jordan Carter said an officer on patrol observed Goodwin allegedly driving a vehicle without a clearly visible license plate.
Goodwin turned his vehicle onto Highway 19 when the officer clocked his speed as being above the posted limit.
“He (the officer) tried to get closer, but he couldn’t because he (Goodwin) was accelerating,” Carter said. “I don’t know why he started eluding, even before the blue lights turned on. But he accelerated and the chase was initiated.”
The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the chase continued for several minutes. Carter said he was thankful that traffic was light that morning.
“Pursuits are dangerous, and we have to take all that stuff into consideration,” Carter said. “We have certain policies and restrictions that go into effect to protect the community.”
The officer reported the situation to dispatch, who then began coordinating with other law enforcement agencies so they could get ahead of the pursuit.
Goodwin continued down State Highway 19 heading north, and he eventually crossed over into Franklin County.
Franklin County dispatched units ahead of the pursuit to set up roadblocks or spike strips to attempt to stop Goodwin.
“Once they got to Vina, there’s a stop sign at the end of 19 once you get to (State Highway) 172,” Carter said. “The vehicle turned back to the right and went toward Hodges. Hackleburg units were already coming over toward the pursuit on 172, so they got between Hodges and the pursuit just to attempt to prevent them from getting into Hodges.
“If they got through Hodges, then ultimately the next city is Hackleburg, and you’ve got the school and everything there.”
“They were successful in deflating one of the tires on the car,” Carter continued. “Once the tire was deflated, it slowed him down a little bit, but he was still travelling 65-70 miles per hour, even on a flat.”
Carter said Goodwin then turned down a dirt road before turning onto a four-wheeler trail, managing to travel almost a mile down the trail.
After a crash, Goodwin bailed from his vehicle and took off on foot a short distance before officers deployed a taser and were able to catch him.
Goodwin was taken into custody and booked at the Marion County Jail.
Carter said no drugs or other illegal items were found on the scene, and Goodwin was charged only with attempting to elude.
Carter said a recent change in state law made Goodwin’s alleged elusion a felony.
“Before then, it would have just been a misdemeanor attempt to elude, but now, thankfully, our state has upgraded this to a felony,” Carter said. “These circumstances definitely constituted a felony attempt to elude. That puts them behind bars a little longer when it’s a felony.”

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