Station robbed, suspect wrecks after chase

Published 12:05 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

A high-speed chase on Interstate 20 Thursday evening ended with a wreck, a robbery suspect in the hospital and eastbound traffic shut down on the busy highway for about three hours.

Lemario Smoot, 24, 4275 Richmond Circle, Jackson, was in stable condition at University Medical Center in Jackson this morning, a hospital official said.

He was being guarded by a Vicksburg police officer and will be charged with strong armed robbery and felony eluding, Vicksburg Chief Walter Armstrong said.

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Smoot is accused of grabbing money from the cash register at Kangaroo at 4150 Washington St. at about 5 p.m., jumping into a Ford SUV and fleeing east on the interstate, Armstrong said.

“The clerk gave an excellent vehicle description and partial tag,” the chief said.

Vicksburg police and Mississippi Highway Patrol chased the speeding Smoot until he attempted to pass an 18-wheeler on the shoulder of the interstate, the SUV left the highway and rolled onto its side near the Edwards exit.

Smoot was pinned in the vehicle until he could be freed by emergency workers, and then the debris had to be cleared from the highway.

Drivers in the stalled cars and trucks said eastbound traffic did not start moving again until about 8 p.m.

Armstrong said Smoot could be charged in similar robberies in Jackson.