Dramatic video shows capture of Louisiana escapees in Memphis - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Dramatic video shows capture of Louisiana escapees in Memphis

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Dash cam video showed the pursuit from Mississippi into Memphis. Dash cam video showed the pursuit from Mississippi into Memphis.
MEMPHIS, TN -

By Action News 5 Staff

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Dramatic dash camera footage released Tuesday shows authorities as they captured two Louisiana fugitives after a manhunt that crossed four states.

Rickey Wedgeworth, 36, and Darian Pierce, 33, were captured Monday after they crashed a vehicle at Winchester and Hacks Cross and tried to run away.

Officials said Pierce and Wedgeworth were caught about 90 miles from where they were last seen at a park near Jackson.  Police said they stole a government pickup after tying up a worker at the park.

They were initially spotted in Olive Branch and chased into Memphis by DeSoto County Sheriff's deputies.  Memphis police and Shelby County sheriff's deputies then joined the pursuit.

>>>Click here to watch dash camera footage released by the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department<<<

Dozens of law enforcement vehicles converged on the intersection at Winchester and Hacks Cross.  One suspect was apprehended immediately after the truck wrecked out.  There was a brief pursuit on foot with the second suspect.

A Memphis police officer suffered minor injuries, Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said. She did not say which of the fugitives was hurt.

One of the escapees was taken to The MED after the chase. Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said he had minor injuries that came after he took off in the crash.

"He was swinging and fighting," said Godwin.  "He had some sort of pliers or tools in his hand trying to strike the officers."

Director Godwin said Memphis police officers did not fire any shots.

Amidst the chaos that erupted at the busy intersection, drivers left their cars and customers left nearby businesses to line the streets.

"The truck almost hit us, but we made it across the light just in time," said one witness.  "I told my girlfriend to turn around because I wanted to see it.  I've never seen nothing like this."

"We did see both of them jump out and one was arrested," said witness Tamara Strickland.  "The other one was brought in on a stretcher."

Lynn Brotcher lives close to the scene.  She rushed over when she heard the commotion.

"I see a white truck just coming down from the bridge, speeding with a flat tire and two guys in there," said Brotcher.  "I was wondering what was going on because I saw all those cop cars."

Many of the witnesses at the scene breathed a sigh of relief now that both prisoners were back in police custody.

"I'm just glad they were caught," said Brotcher.  "I'm glad they're going to be behind bars for the rest of their lives."

Pierce and Wedgeworth escaped over a week ago from the Louisiana State Police Headquarters Compound, where they had been working, in a stolen state-issued van that was later found near St. Francisville in Louisiana.
 
Pierce is from Bogalusa, La., and is serving time for attempted second degree murder. Wedgeworth is from Memphis and is serving time for armed robbery.
 
While on the run the pair kidnapped an Ohio man who was traveling in Louisiana. According to an autopsy, David Michael Cupps, 53, autopsy was beaten and had trauma around his neck, indicating strangulation.

Investigators believe the pair were likely holed up much of the time somewhere in Jackson.
 
Cupps' body was found Wednesday near a Comfort Inn in Bessemer, Ala. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent John Mehr said Pierce and Wedgeworth are responsible for Cupps' death.
 
Officials said Cupps, of the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Sunbury, was carjacked while he was in Vicksburg. Police officials from Vicksburg were in Alabama on Friday as part of their investigation.

Throughout the search, law enforcement and regular folks feared that any arrest would be violent and involve gunplay, considering the fugitives' history.

But it ended with a car crash.
      
"It was local law enforcement doing great police work," Memphis FBI spokesman Joel Siscovic said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.  The AP contributed to this report.

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