Fleeing suspect terrorizes parents, children in Jones Park - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fleeing suspect terrorizes parents, children in Jones Park

A suspect in a car chase Sunday afternoon was arrested by Gulfport Police near the intersection of Tegarden Road and U.S. 90. (Photo Source: WLOX) A suspect in a car chase Sunday afternoon was arrested by Gulfport Police near the intersection of Tegarden Road and U.S. 90. (Photo Source: WLOX)
Aiden Campagno, center, and Anthony Campagno, celebrate their birthday along with grandmother, Miriam Hayes. Their celebration had a scare when a fleeing suspect in a truck ran through Jones Park in an attempt to flee from police. (Photo Source: WLOX) Aiden Campagno, center, and Anthony Campagno, celebrate their birthday along with grandmother, Miriam Hayes. Their celebration had a scare when a fleeing suspect in a truck ran through Jones Park in an attempt to flee from police. (Photo Source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A high speed chase through Harrison County came to an end about 2 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Teagarden Road and U.S. 90 in Gulfport. But not before the suspect terrorized parents and young children in Jones Park just moments before.

They are all smiles now, but Aiden and Anthony Campagno and their grandmother, Miriam Hayes, nearly had a disastrous ending to their birthday party when a suspect, trying to avoid police, drove within feet of their pavilion at Jones Park.

“I guess our reaction was just get the kids out of the way,” their aunt Shelly Bolden said. “I mean, we had four or five kids out here that were trying to eat and cooking and we just needed to get the kids out of the way. Everybody was screaming and yelling. People playing in the water. They were all screaming and yelling.”

The chase began in Hancock County and ended near the intersection of Tegarden Road in Gulfport. During the arrest, the suspect could be heard saying, “I just wanted to get my $10 back.” Gulfport police have identified the suspect as Linda Okoronkwo, 29, of New Orleans.

Witnesses say there were about 100 people were in the playground and splash pad areas when the car came through.

“I grabbed my kid and my nephews,” Bolden said. “I thought the best place for them to stand was behind the poles because I didn't think she could take out the poles.”

Bolden said the driver came through not once, but twice. 

“When she rolled by the second time she was screaming something out of the window. She kind of had a smile on her face and I couldn't hear what she was saying.”

Marius McCoy of Baton Rouge was driving on Highway 90 in Gulfport near the Long Beach line when he saw the chase coming up behind him.

“I was just hoping they weren't going to start shooting,” McCoy said. “That was the only reason I pulled immediately to the right. My only issue was because the guy was all over the road because he was losing control of the truck, being the front and rear tires blown. He was running on his rims, you can't really control your car that way. So I seen him going from left to right and I was sure he was going hit somebody ahead of him."

Okoronkwo is charged with felony fleeing and eluding in Gulfport. No word yet on if she'll face additional charges in other cities that the chase occurred in.


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