Highway patrol officials: Drag racing incident on interstate was not in our jurisdiction

Published 6:28 am Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said they did not respond to reports of drag racing and other car stunts blocking portions of Interstate 55 because they did not know the incident was happening.

Major John Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol explained to WLBT News in Jackson that troopers were not informed about the incident by the Jackson Police Department, the agency that covers I-55 in the Jackson city limits.

At approximately 11 p.m. Friday, a portion of the interstate between Lakeland Drive and Meadowbrook Road was blocked by a group of people drag racing and performing other car stunts. The northbound lanes of the interstate were closed for nearly an hour.

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Poulos also said JPD is the agency covering that area and are the ones responsible for responding. Poulos also said troopers would have assisted Jackson police officers if they had been requested to do so.

Michael Flood, public information officer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, said MDOT responded to the at the same time as Jackson Police. MDOT has several real-time cameras along the interstate.

During a press conference Monday, Jackson Police Chief James Davis said the department didn’t call any other agencies to the scene because they were not exactly sure what was happening themselves. By the time they made it through the traffic to where everything was happening, Davis said the drivers sped off.

The mayor said the city has a ‘no-chase’ policy which prevented officers from going to the scene. So far, one arrest has been made. JPD said a juvenile turned themselves in on Saturday.

Police are continuing to look through the video to identify faces, vehicles and license plate numbers and expect to make more arrests.