Man arrested after high speed chase

On the morning of February 17, Simpson County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Payne tried to initiate a traffic stop on a red SUV on Coats Road. The driver was later identified as Jeffery J. Craft of Mount Olive. Craft refused to stop, and continued to evade Payne through Overby Road and onto Tugwell Road. Craft’s passenger and owner of the vehicle, Letitia Crosby, was thrown from the vehicle at Baldwin and Tugwell Road while Craft made a high speed left turn. The chase continued down Baldwin Road and onto Highway 49 South. The Sheriff’s Department was assisted by officers from the Magee Police Department during the chase. Craft used the vehicle to ram the side of Payne’s patrol car, before turning onto New Hope Road and losing control of the vehicle. He crashed near the 700 block of New Hope Road and then attempted to flee on foot. Craft was captured near the vehicle and taken to the Simpson County Adult Detention Center, and was charged with careless driving, felony fleeing, and aggravated assault on law enforcement officers. The passenger, Letitia Crosby, suffered minor injuries after being thrown from the vehicle and declined medical treatment.