Videos show staged I-55 shutdown


Social media video is being used  to track down suspects in a staged shutdown of I-55 northbound just above Lakeland Drive New Year's Day night.

The incident involved the interstate being blocked and then several vehicles arriving to rev motors and cut multiple doughnuts in the roadway as onlookers cheered and even danced on top of a vehicle.

Individuals were in the roadway flirting dangerously close to the spinning cars, some of which looked like used police cruisers.

“If you are in that video, I will suggest you turn yourself in,” Jackson Police Chief James Davis said.

The incident, believed to have lasted as long as an hour, was captured in the videos that went viral on social media.

Police say that the videos were captured between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1. The videos show vehicles doing doughnuts and drag racing while other vehicles block traffic and onlooker hoop and holler.

People are seen filming the spinning cars in the video. Skid marks could still be seen on the roadway this week.  

One suspect, a juvenile, turned themselves in on Saturday afternoon and their identity has not been released. 

Davis said that by the time they were able to work their way to the scene, the vehicles sped off. No injuries have been reported.

Davis has said that officers are combing the available video footage for faces, license plates and other identifying features that could lead to further arrests. He said they have also received phone calls and other tips that could lead to further arrests.

Davis said that potential charges include obstructing traffic, drag racing in public, shutting down the interstate, reckless driving and disorderly conduct. He said they intend to pursue those charges in court for anyone that is charged.

Each of these crimes carries a potential penalty of up to $1,000 fine and could include up to six months in prison.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said that officers did not give chase based on a “no chase policy” the department has. City officials have said that the policy is largely due to potholes and Lumumba defended the position at Jan. 5 City Council meeting.

Davis said during a Monday press conference concerning the event that they did not call for help from other agencies because they did not have a firm grasp of the situation themselves. 

Mississippi Highway Patrol Spokesman John Poulos said that they were not informed of the incident at the time and would have responded accordingly had they been called for help by JPD.

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