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A case of stolen identity led to a chase, a wreck, and a host of charges against Jamal Jefferson of Douglas.
According to a report from the Douglas Police Department, on March 2 around 11 p.m., a police officer stopped a vehicle on West Phillips Street and South College Avenue. The officer had run the vehicle’s tag and it came back that the owner had a valid warrant for aggravated discharge of a firearm from Rock Island County, Illinois. The warrant also stated that the suspect was considered armed and dangerous.
The officer stopped the vehicle and informed Jefferson, the driver, that he had a warrant from Illinois. The report states that Jefferson replied that he didn’t have a warrant. Jefferson maintained that he has been dealing with this issue since he was 18 years old because someone stole his identity. The report also stated that Jefferson said he wasn’t going to jail because he knew he wasn’t the person officials in Illinois wanted. The real wanted person, Jefferson said, was in prison in Illinois.
Jefferson, whom the report says was being argumentative, told the officer to call his ex-girlfriend who could verify that he had gotten the issue cleared up. The officer spoke with her on the phone and she said that this has been recurring problem for Jefferson and that he had in fact gotten it taken care of. She said she had an email that proved Jefferson was innocent. She also asked if the officer would let Jefferson go if she provided the email.
However, the report states that Jefferson’s social security number matched the social security number on the warrant. The officer told Jefferson’s ex-girlfriend that he would have to go jail until they could get the issue cleared up with Rock Island, Illinois. If she sent officers in Illinois the proof she said she had, the officer stated that Jefferson would likely be released.
But Jefferson had other plans.
The report states that Jefferson was on probation from a forgery and intent to distribute cocaine conviction from 2009. The officer asked Jefferson if he had anything illegal in the vehicle. According to the report, the officer felt as though he did based on his facial expressions after the question. When the officer told him she was going to search the vehicle, the report says that Jefferson became argumentative again.
Jefferson, who was still in the vehicle, rolled up the window half way, said he did not feel safe, and he was going to the sheriff’s office. He then sped away, heading south on College Avenue with no headlights on.
Several units pursued Jefferson’s vehicle, with one officer finally performing a PIT maneuver on him on the west bypass. The PIT maneuver was successful and officers apprehended Jefferson once it was over.
The report states that after the crash, officers smelled alcohol on Jefferson. However, he said he hadn’t been drinking but he had smoked marijuana. Jefferson was taken to CRMC for treatment. He also had blood drawn while he was there. Medical staff released him and he was taken to the Coffee County Jail.
Jefferson was hit with a slew of charges, most of them traffic violations related to the chase. He was also charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police, fugitive from justice, and DUI-alcohol. As it turned out, officers at the jail discovered that Jefferson was correct when he said he was not the wanted individual. It was case of mistaken/stolen identity. The warrant was dismissed and was released from jail. Jefferson still faces charges in Coffee County for the chase.