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Man arrested for fleeing BPD Officer after leading him on two high speed chases

by Teresa Eubanks, Journal Editor

A 29-year-old Blountstown man who twice raced away from a policeman during back-to-back traffic stops and then drew his family into a tussle with the officer was charged with fleeing and eluding at a high rate of speed and resisting an officer with violence.

Blountstown Police Officer Andy Pace attempted to pull over a grey Chevrolet shortly before 8 a.m. Dec. 7 when he noticed the driver was not wearing a seat belt.

The vehicle was going west on Central Avenue and then turned onto 11th Street and sped up.  The officer followed and turned on his emergency lights, signaling for the man to stop but the driver - James Albert Willis - continued on for a while before pulling over, sticking his head out and yelling at Pace, according to the arrest report.

Willis, with whom the officer had dealt with before without incident, was hostile and “appeared to take great exception to me conducting a traffic stop on him,” according to Pace’s report.

Moments later, Willis became congenial and asked to buy a cigarette from the officer.

Intending to conduct a field sobriety test on him, Pace asked Willis to exit the vehicle.  Instead, Willis rolled up the window, locked the door and said he was not going to jail.  Then he sped away.

With Pace in pursuit, Willis led him back into Blountstown, going east on Angle Street, south on Charlie Johns Street, west on Oak Street and north on Mayo Street before coming to a stop in the back parking area of Sutton Creek Apartments.

Pace used his patrol car to block Willis’ exit from the driver’s side.  While attempting to take him into custody, Willis slipped out through the passenger’s side of his vehicle.  Pace chased Willis as he ran toward a row of apartments, screaming “Momma!”

Willis tried to get into a closed apartment unsuccessfully and the officer caught up with him and brought him to the ground as he waited for backup.  Willis continued struggling with the officer as his family members came out of the closed apartment and his two sisters tried to pull the officer off their brother.

BPD Lt. Tim Partridge arrived to assist Pace and they took Willis into custody.  When taken to the police department, Willis angrily threatened numerous officers that he would get back at them once he was free but on the way to jail, he suddenly took on a “calm and pleasant demeanor,” according to the report.

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December 15th, 2017



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