Chase ends in tragedy

Published 11:26 pm Wednesday, July 9, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
A Mississippi man drowned July 4 after he led Brewton police on a chase to a house and pond near Appleton.
Along the way, the suspect hid under a house, was hit with a Taser shock from officers and finally jumped in the pond to elude police before he drowned, officials said.
Arthur James Bennett, 36, of Meridian, Miss., failed to stop at a DUI checkpoint operated by Brewton Police at the intersection of Tiger Drive and Belleville Avenue around 12:01 a.m., Police Chief Monte McGougin said.
McGougin said Bennett then turned onto McGougin Road in the Appleton community and drove another five miles to a residence where he abandoned his vehicle.
McGougin said officers deployed a five-second burst from a Taser on Bennett as he was ordered to come out from under the home.
Bennett had been wearing long, baggy shorts, McGougin said.
McGougin said Bennett dove into the pond as officers pursued him.
Officers were able to secure a boat at the pond and paddled toward Bennett in the center of the pond, McGougin said.
Officers in the boat proceeded to where Bennett was last seen in the pond but were unable to locate him.
Bennett was wanted on several warrants from surrounding counties, McGougin said. Charges against Bennett included escape, resisting arrest, burglary, theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle, vehicle theft and possession of marijuana.
An autopsy to determine the exact cause of Bennett's death is being conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile, McGougin said.