High-speed chase ends in manhunt (with video)

Published 9:18 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

A driver who failed to stop for an Alabama State Trooper and then fled the scene of a two-vehicle crash on foot was apprehended Wednesday afternoon with the help of helicopters and K-9 officers, according to troopers.

According to troopers, William Ezra Wayne Lee, 32, of Eclectic, was speeding when a trooper tried to initiate a traffic stop near Moore Road in Montgomery County. But Lee increased speed instead of stopping, said a passenger in his car.

“He was speeding and the blue lights came on and he said, ‘I can’t stop or I’ll have to go back,’ ” said the driver’s cousin, Robert Anthony Cleveland. Cleveland relayed that there were several close calls during the pursuit that began around 11:37 a.m. and he and a female passenger urged Lee to stop the car.

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“He just tried to outrun the police,” Cleveland said. “I think he had a drink. He had a couple of drinks and he thought it was going to violate his parole.”

Cleveland said Lee’s license also may have been revoked or suspended.

“He was driving. We were just along for a very scary ride,” Cleveland said. “It was a lot of close calls. I just put my seatbelt on.”


To watch a video of passenger Robert Anthony Cleveland explaining the ordeal, click here.


The trooper pursued Lee during a high-speed chase and Cleveland said Lee left U.S. 231 South for a side road and then circled back to the highway.

Although troopers have not confirmed the cause of the crash that happened next, Cleveland said the trooper pursuing Lee hit the left back panel of the suspect car.

“(Lee) jumped out of the car and ran and I ain’t seen him since,” Cleveland said.

Lee and the female passenger also got out of the car, according to Trooper Charles Dysart, but the lawman who had been involved in the crash was able to detain them.

Photo by Wes Johnson

“Next thing I know, I’m handcuffed in the backseat and they got helicopters flying overhead,” Cleveland said. “I just did exactly what the police told me to do.”

Dysart advised no one was injured in the wreck.

State troopers, including their aerial and K-9 units, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and representatives from the Kilby Correctional Facility all aided in the search.

Lee was apprehended about 1:15 p.m.

Cleveland said he had been to visit family in Alabama for the holidays and Lee was taking him back to Panama City where he worked.

Cleveland said he wasn’t sure how he would make it back to Florida. He shrugged, “Bus station, I guess.”

 Wes Johnson contributed to this report.