An escapee from Coffee County led lawmen on a high-speed chase Saturday that spanned two counties before the man driving a stolen car crashed in Smithville.
“He was traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph, passing on double yellow lines, running red lights and running other motorists off the road,” said Sheriff Jackie Matheny of the chase which eventually led to the capture of Mark Cope. “We had to stay on him because first, he was wanted for escape and second, we had word he might be armed.”
The chase started near McMinnville’s Walmart after officers moved in, hearing he had been seen in the area. Matheny said it is his understanding Cope had walked away from a work detail in Coffee County and was wanted.
Upon seeing officers, Cope, who was driving his mother’s Chevy Cavalier, took off at a high rate of speed, leading officers on a chase down Smithville Highway heading north toward Smithville. Deputy Josh Sparkman took the lead of the pursuing units and stayed behind the fugitive.
It was on the straight-stretch where speeds easily topped 100 mph, the chase quickly hitting DeKalb County. There, units from DeKalb joined as the chase entered the city of Smithville. Following a chase through town, Cope wrecked his mother’s car and was taken into custody.
“Praise the Lord nobody got hurt,” Matheny said.
Cope is being held under $160,000 bond at Warren County Jail charged with reckless endangerment, theft, evading arrest, driving on a revoked license and violation of habitual traffic offender status. Coffee County has a hold on Cope once Warren County is through with him.