Two men were arrested for fleeing and drug charges Tuesday night after they led law enforcement on a chase that started on I-30 and came to an end on Hempstead 2 west of Guernsey.
According to Sheriff James Singleton, Sergeant Daniel Steward of the Hope Police Department was attempting to stop a blue Ford Expedition, occupied by Justin Alberson and Thomas Shane Pipkin, on I-30 just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, August 20. The SUV was heading west from exit 31 in Hope. The driver, Justin Alberson, didn’t stop and exited on exit 30 at North Hervey.
Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office investigator Gary Dorman was in the area of Hervey and Holiday Drive and saw the SUV exit the interstate with Steward behind it with his emergency lights and sirens on. Dorman observed the Expedition run the red light at the intersection. Steward was forced to stop at the light because of traffic so Dorman began pursuing the SUV and advised dispatch he would be taking over the pursuit since it was going out of the city limits. Dorman continued pursuit into the county toward Washington on Highway 278.
Though he didn’t know it, Alberson’s apparent attempt to flee was doomed when he made his next two moves. Instead of continuing toward Washington, Alberson turned south onto Melrose Lane and then west on Hempstead 2 toward Guernsey, travelling at a high rate of speed. Dorman was in contact with Deputies Charlie Featherston and Steven Dunham and Troopers Darren Henley and Christina Morris who all were between Fulton and Guernsey after responding to a call claiming a driver on I-30 was brandishing a handgun. The deputies and troopers immediately started positioning themselves to box in the fleeing SUV. Also in the area and assisting was Sheriff James Singleton who was on his way back with his wife from Texarkana.
As Alberson led Dorman down Hempstead 2, Featherston and Dunham positioned themselves at the intersection of Highway 353 and Hempstead 2. Dunham deployed spike strips across the road as Featherston got in place to join Dorman in pursuit of the Expedition when it reached them. Troopers Henley and Morris set up further down Hempstead 2 to head off the SUV.
Dunham notified Dorman of the spike strips so he could drop back and avoid them. Dunham said Alberson hit them perfectly, taking out three of the tires almost immediately. He pulled the spikes from the road to let Dorman safely pass.
The hobbled SUV continued west on Hempstead 2 but wasn’t able to make it far. Alberson and his passenger abandoned the SUV in front of BMP Farms and attempted to flee on foot. Dorman recognized Alberson and saw him falling from the top of a fence on the south side of Hempstead 2. Dorman pulled into BMP’s driveway and caught up to Alberson as he continued to flee. After a short foot chase, Dorman caught him. Deputy Featherston assisted Dorman in taking Alberson into custody while Deputy Dunham and Sheriff Singleton took Pipkin into custody.
According to Sheriff Singleton, deputies found several needles in the left cargo pocket of Alberson’s shorts. A search of the Expedition was started and Deputy Dunham advised he located a clear baggie on the passenger side containing what he believed to be methamphetamine.
Alberson, from Hope, complained of an injury to his arm and was transported to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope for treatment before being taken to the Hempstead County Detention Facility and being booked for reckless driving, fleeing and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Pipkin, from Prescott, was booked on possession with intent (methamphetamine).
Both Alberson and Pipkin are being held awaiting their first court appearance.