Tennessee resident, local father jailed

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Tennessee resident wanted for causing an alcohol-related wreck on Oak Ridge Road in October was captured Monday evening after a chase involving deputies and Vicksburg police officers, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Frank Gideon Whitaker IV, 26, who has been living in Tennessee but gave his father’s address of 222 Cain Ridge Road as his residence, was nabbed around 7:30 p.m. in an area behind Walmart, 2150 Iowa Blvd., Pace said. In addition to facing arraignment from his indictment for aggravated driving under the influence, Whitaker has new charges of felony eluding.

Whitaker’s father, Frank G. Whitaker III, 56, was charged with accessory after the fact-hindering a prosecution, Pace said.

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Whitaker IV had been indicted in October by the Warren County grand jury for aggravated DUI following the head-on wreck Oct. 21 that injured himself and a second driver, Cynthia M. Grantham, 53, 3778 Oak Ridge Road.

Both Whitaker IV and Grantham, who was critically injured, had to be flown to University Medical Center in Jackson.

After being indicted, Whitaker IV, who had given his address at the time of the wreck as 3402 Old Hickory Blvd., Old Hickory, Tenn., did not report for arraignment in circuit court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Pace said Whitaker IV had a Tennessee driver’s license, a Tennessee license plate and was on probation in the state for a previous conviction.

Monday evening, Pace said deputy Bill Jones spotted Whitaker IV driving north on U.S. 61 South. Jones attempted to pull him over but Whitaker IV sped onto Cain Ridge Road, abandoned his vehicle and “ran off into the woods behind his father’s house,” said Pace.

Vicksburg police officers, including a K-9 unit, assisted in the chase, said the sheriff.

“A short time later Whitaker was spotted near the (U.S.) 61 and I-20 interchange still on foot,” said Pace, and he was found about 7:30 p.m. by a police officer who held him until deputies arrived to make the arrest.

Frank G. Whitaker III was also picked up, said the sheriff.

“He was well aware of the warrant and indictment against his son,” said Pace. “Sheriff’s officers have been in touch with him. We believe the son has been back at his father’s home at least for the last several days with his father harboring him at that house.”

Both men were being held this morning without bond in the Warren County Jail.

Whitaker IV will be given a post-indictment appearance in Warren County Circuit Court for arraignment on the aggravated DUI charge.

Whitaker III will appear in justice court, perhaps as early as today, said Pace.