• 63°

Suspect chase injures deputy

A man wanted on felony warrants in Escambia County led law enforcement officials on a high-speed chase that injured a Covington County deputy before the suspect was arrested Saturday morning.

Michael “Red” Thames, 36, was wanted in Escambia County on felony warrants including charges of receiving stolen property. The Florala man has a record that includes previous charges in the 2008 shooting of a now-candidate for sheriff in Covington County.

On Saturday, an off-duty ECSO deputy noticed Thames traveling near the Covington County line at approximately 9:30 a.m. near County Road 4 and requested assistance from the CCSO.

“We have been looking for Mr. Thames for a while,” Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said. “We got a tip that he was in the area and we responded to that call. When our officers arrived, he was involved in a high-speed chase with Covington County Sheriff’s officers, where he is also wanted. When our officers got word that he had gone into Florida, our officers waited on him to come back into the area.”

Thames had allegedly traveled south near the Florida line.

“Investigator Ted Motley was in the area when he spotted (Thames) traveling north on County Road 51 in a Chevrolet Z-71 pickup,” Covington County Chief Deputy David Anderson said. “Investigator Motley activated his lights and sirens in an attempt to get him to stop. (Thames) slammed on the brakes several times in an attempt to cause Inv. Motley to wreck.”

Anderson said at one point, the two vehicles collided, with Motley’s vehicle striking the rear of Thames’ truck. The pursuit continued as they approached the intersection of County Road 4 and County Road 51 where two Escambia County deputies were located in an attempt to stop the suspect, he said.

“Thames ran through the stop sign and continued north on County Road 51,” Anderson said. “At the next intersection, Thames attempted to make a left hand turn when Inv. Motley administered the ‘PIT’ maneuver and spun the suspect’s vehicle out.”

Anderson said Thames was taken into custody without any further incident.

Motley was transported to Andalusia Regional Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Thames was transported to the Escambia County Jail with holds for Covington County and Okaloosa County, Fla. There, he is being held on two counts of receiving stolen property and attempting to elude law enforcement.

Anderson said local charges against Thames are pending, as are numerous traffic citations.

In December 2008, Thames was charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer after he shot at John Davis, who was then employed with the Florala Police Department. Davis, who is currently employed as the Lockhart police chief, is on the Nov. 2 ballot as the Republican candidate for sheriff.

Davis had attempted to stop Thames on a minor traffic violation before leading law enforcement on a two-state, high-speed pursuit. Davis terminated the pursuit, and Thames turned himself in the following day.

Thames, who was also charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and reckless endangerment, pleaded guilty in June 2009 to first-degree attempted assault in the case. The remaining charges were “nol prossed.” He was given a five-year suspended sentence and three years of probation.