Courts & Crime

Mississippi police chase includes wrecked cars, bullets, sword

PASCAGOULA, Miss. -- Grady Wells threatened police officers with a martial arts sword twice before two of them shot him to death on Live Oak Avenue on Monday morning, police said.

But before Wells was killed, he left in his wake at least five wrecked cars, one injured policeman and a bystander overcome by anxiety when police shot the car she was in.

In a press release Monday, Pascagoula police said Wells, 55, was visiting relatives in Jackson County and was driving a white, 2005 Mercedes Benz with a New York license plate when he sideswiped a car on U.S. 90 in Gautier. He left the scene of the accident and headed toward Pascagoula.

The person who was sideswiped followed Wells and alerted Pascagoula police that the Mercedes was in their city.

Pascagoula Police Chief Eddie Stewart said at a press conference Monday that the officer was expecting to arrest someone who left the scene of an accident, a common occurrence.

Instead, Wells came out of the Mercedes wielding a martial arts sword, and the police officer retreated. Wells returned to his car and left. He turned around in a nearby parking lot of the First Baptist Church and headed back toward U.S. 90 on Pascagoula Street, the way he had come, Stewart said.

Wells hit a patrol motorcycle that was coming to help with the chase.

Stewart said the officer was able to get off of the motorcycle before Wells hit it, but the officer was skinned up.

"Wells then chased and attempted to run over the injured motorcycle patrolman, who escaped with the help of an off-duty sheriff's deputy," the police report said. An officer fired three shots at the Mercedes.

Chief Stewart said he believes all three shots missed Wells and his car.

Wells continued driving north, hit several civilian cars and drove toward pedestrians, police said.

Then he made a U-turn on Pascagoula Street and drove back toward a number of police officers in cars.

He turned off Pascagoula Street and headed east on Live Oak, where police attempted to block him in, Stewart said.

Wells hit a patrol car, pushing it off the roadway, then lost control and hit a power pole. When the car stopped, he got out again with a sword.

"He gets out of the car and advances on the officers" as they were trying to get out of their cars, Stewart said.

Two officers fired what police believe were four shots at Wells, each hitting him, Stewart said.

Wells died on the pavement next to his Mercedes. One stray shot hit a nearby car. The woman in the car was not injured by the bullet, Stewart said, but she was taken to Singing River Hospital and treated for what he called "upset" or anxiety.

"She was just frightened, understandably very frightened," Stewart said.