Police pursuit ends in 2 arrests

Published 2:51 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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A shop-lifting venture and police chase down U.S. Interstate Highway 65 in Greenville landed two people, one a wanted fugitive, in custody on Sept. 7.

Zachary Henderson, 22, and Emaleigh Henderson, 23 were taken into custody Thursday under charges of fourth-degree theft of property. Zachary Henderson is still held at the Butler County jail, also facing charges of attempting to elude and reckless endangerment, pending extradition orders for outstanding warrants from Crestview, Florida.

“There was a theft from a local store, basically shoplifting,” said Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn. “They stole some items from a retail business close to the Fort Dale/I-65 Exit.”

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Lovvorn said his office received a call from the business reporting what employees believed to be a person in the store attempting to leave with merchandise. Officers arrived at the scene just as the driver, Zachary Henderson, was pulling away.

According to Lovvorn, the arrests were made through a joint effort of the department, with help from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgiana Police Department and Troopers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division.

“The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over and that’s where the chase started and got on the interstate at the 130 Exit going south,” Lovvorn said. “We got down to Georgiana and got some extra assistance from Georgiana PD, ALEA, and the Sheriff’s Department.”

Lovvorn said the chase continued until the 106-mile marker, near the Covington County line in a construction zone near the bridge. Henderson’s vehicle struck a wide-load 18-wheeler stopped for construction.

“They tried to maneuver their way around but the vehicle struck the back of the wide load,’ Lovvorn said. “It didn’t really cause any damage to the load but damaged [Henderson’s] vehicle pretty good on the front end. That made them stop at that point and that’s when our officers got out and were able to force them out of the vehicle and take them into custody.”

Greenville PD recovered the stolen property and discovered Zachary had a warrant out of Crestview, Florida for probation violations.

“We ended up charging him with [fugitive from justice]] as well as our charges, which are theft of property in the fourth degree, attempting to elude, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest,” Lovvorn said. “[Emaleigh] was charged with theft of property in the fourth degree and resisting arrest. Those were her only two charges.”

Evidence indicates Emaleigh stole the property, Lovvorn said. Zachary drove the get-away vehicle.

“She got in the passenger seat,” he said. “Then he took off and got pulled over, so he became an even more quilty accomplice.”

Lovvorn said that in addition to Butler County charges, Zachary is held for the Florida charges too.

Lovvorn also noted that while the pair share a last name, they are not married but are dating and happen to share the common name.

Greenville’s crime rate is in decline, Lovvorn said, adding that incidents like this one usually involve persons from outside the area.

“Our crime rate is going down overall from month to month,” Lovvorn said. “And, it’s because everyone in our area realizes that if you go there (commit a crime) you are very likely to get caught. Usually, big problems like this are caused by people from out of town that have no clue how we operate or what we do and we end in a chase or something like that. We usually end up being able to get them into custody.”

Local law enforcement is doing everything they can to make Greenville a safe place to live, work, and shop, Lovvorn said.

“We are trying,” Lovvorn said. “It’s not perfect but we are making some progress.”