Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

October 20, 2012

Chase suspect faces charges in 3 states

Cordele — CORDELE — The man who led authorities in three counties on an almost 40-mile mid-week chase during which speeds on I-75 reportedly exceeded 150 mph at one point faces felony charges in three states.

Local sheriff’s department records show Jason Spencer Blythe, 29, of Easley, S.C., is charged with a dozen counts — the majority of them for assorted traffic violations —  in Crisp County where the pursuit was initiated.

The more serious charges he faces locally are aggravated assault for attempting to hit Purvis’ patrol car head-on, theft by receiving stolen property (the car and its contents) and possession of marijuana (less than an ounce).

Turner and Tift counties, which also were involved in the Tuesday afternoon chase, have elected not to file charges against Easley. A spokesman for the latter said it was his understanding the Georgia State Patrol likely will, however, lengthen the list of charges Blythe faces.

Pursuit of the suspect and the stolen 2005 Lexus he was driving ended when it crashed into the unmarked patrol car of Tift County Sheriff’s Department Col. Larry Taylor.

Neither Taylor nor Blythe suffered serious injuries in the collision that totaled the Tift County patrol car and extensively damaged the vehicle Blythe allegedly had stolen in Alabama.

Pursuit of Blythe began when Crisp County Deputy Garion K. Sales clocked the vehicle he was driving at 84 mph in a 70 mph zone and attempted to perform a traffic stop.

At about seven miles into the chase, Blythe reportedly attempted to run Deputy Kenny Purvis’ patrol car off the roadway.

As pursuit continued into Turner and Tift counties, the Lexus reportedly reached speeds of 160 mph at one point. The driver also used numerous exits in an attempt to elude authorities who blocked other exit ramps to prevent the vehicle from entering highly-populated areas.

After leaving the interstate at Exit 66, speeds up to 115-mph plus resumed before the chase ended when the Lexus collided with Taylor’s patrol vehicle near a Tifton shopping center.

Crisp County Sheriff’s Investigator Ben Bray said subsequent investigation revealed the Lexus valued at $23,000 had been stolen from Montgomery, Ala.

Bray said he has learned Blythe went to a dealership in that city and inquired about possible purchase of another vehicle. When the salesman left him unattended momentarily, he allegedly took the keys to the Lexus, returned later and drove it away.

After the chase came to an end, Bray said an inventory of the vehicle disclosed cell phones that were determined to have been stolen from a South Carolina Verizon store.

Video there showed a suspect wearing a plastic bag over his head took them during a burglary. Bray theorizes that a plastic bag Blythe threw from the car early in the chase may have been the one used in the phone store burglary.

Also in the vehicle were two new television sets for which ownership has not yet been established, a duffle bag filled with stolen Clemson University memorabilia and clothing and jewelry that Blythe apparently had purchased in Atlanta.

Bray, who continues to confer with authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies, said Blythe has a lengthy previous criminal record.

The suspect, who remains jailed here, also faces charges in Alabama and South Carolina for his alleged crimes in those states.

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