Drivers refuse to stop

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2007

Multiple hospitalizations follow accidents



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Two separate incidents of drivers attempting to resist traffic citations by fleeing have left an innocent woman hospitalized with major injuries and a police officer injured after a 15-year old took his father’s SUV and went joy riding.

Officer Ray Blanks was transported to Vaughan Regional Medical Center after a collision during a chase about 1:30 a.m. Friday. He was treated for neck and shoulder injuries and released. Chief Jimmy Martin said he arrived at the scene after hearing the call of &8220;officer down,&8221; to see Blanks lying in the street outside of his patrol car.

Martin soon discovered Officer Chris Harris made a routine traffic stop minutes earlier near Church Street and Minter Avenue. Police said the 15-year-old driver listened to his two buddies who told him to &8220;drive off.&8221; The juvenile was apparently attempting to race his way home, but became cornered. All three occupants jumped out and fled, about a block from his Water Avenue home.

The juvenile turned himself in to police at the Cecil Jackson Public Safety Building later Friday morning. Martin said the boy’s father did not know he had the vehicle. The youth was on probation for a previous offense and was transported to a juvenile detention facility. He faces several charges, including reckless endangerment, police said.

In a separate incident during the early morning hours of June 18, a Selma man attempted to elude Officer Jason Whitt on Franklin Street at approximately 2:45 a.m.

Randy Pilgrim, 31, faces several charges including DUI, possession of a controlled substance, running a red light and assault. Police said it very easily could have been vehicular homicide. An innocent motorist traveling on Highland Avenue, was hit and remains hospitalized at the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital.

Police reported she lost her left arm as a result of the crash, and remained hospitalized in Birmingham on Saturday.

Police said Pilgrim attempted to elude because &8220;he had drugs on his person,&8221; and toxicology reports indicate he was intoxicated.