Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Florida Drug Dealer In S. Georgia High Speed Chase Sentenced To 20 Years

By: Associated Press; Eames Yates Email
By: Associated Press; Eames Yates Email

Associated Press Release

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) -- U.S. Attorney's officials in south Georgia say a Florida drug dealer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on cocaine distribution charges.

Prosecutors say 37-year-old Bacari McCarthren of Orlando, Fla. was sentenced Thursday in Valdosta.

Officials say McCarthren fled Florida to Georgia at speeds of over 125 mph during a police pursuit in mid-August of 2012.

Investigators have said the man's car crossed the median and nearly crashed into both civilian and police vehicles before it was forced to a stop by authorities.

Investigators say they found nearly three ounces of cocaine in McCarthren's car once he was stopped.

Officials say the man is also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.


[UPDATE] Lowndes County, Georgia- August 17, 2012- 8:30pm

The identities of two men involved in a high speed chase that started in Florida and ended in Georgia have been released.

We first brought you this story on Thursday night with exclusive video of the car involved the chase. WCTV has learned that nearly $9,000 dollars worth of cocaine was recovered from that car.

The high speed chase began in Hamilton County, Florida. Bacari McCarthren and Thomas Chenault crossed into Georgia around 7 Thursday evening, 8-16-12. That's when the Georgia State Patrol and Lowndes County Sheriff's Deputies followed in hot pursuit. After reckless driving and speeds of 120 miles per hour, enough was enough.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said "We realized we had to stop them, whatever it took to stop them. They had deployed the stop sticks in the roadway but he was able to avoid those. And so the next choice we had was of course a PIT maneuver."

The PIT maneuver or Pursuit Immobilization Technique was a last resort. It had been a bumpy ride for some of those involved up to that point.

Corporal Oscar Fernandez of the Georgia State Patrol said "TFC Greene unfortunately had to discontinue the pursuit because a Lake Park Police Officer deployed the spike strips in front of his patrol car which disabled his car."

Authorities recovered two handguns as well as 88 grams of cocaine worth nearly $9,000 dollars. McCarthren and Chenault were charged with possession of a firearm and trafficking cocaine. They were also charged with aggravated assault because they tried to ram sheriff's deputies with their car.

Both McCarthren and Chenault were treated for minor injuries at South Georgia Medical Center, then taken to the Lowndes County Jail. They have both been denied bond.


Lowndes County, Georgia - August 17, 2012

According to Sheriff Chris Prine, on Thursday evening shortly after 7:00 pm, deputies from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office notified Lowndes County that they were in pursuit of a vehicle traveling north on I-75. After crossing into Georgia, the vehicle being pursued exited the interstate at Exit 2, Lake Park Bellville Road and traveled into Lake Park. Lowndes County deputies and troopers from the Georgia State Patrol joined in the pursuit which traveled north on U.S. Highway 41 exceeding one hundred miles per hour at times. After turning around and driving back south, the chase continued and at one point the vehicle crossed the median and drove south in the north lanes and seemed to be attempting to ram other law enforcement vehicles that were involved in the pursuit. Attempts to deploy stop sticks were unsuccessful and the vehicle continued south on Highway 41. After returning to Lake Park, a Georgia State Patrol Trooper attempted to stop the vehicle using a P.I.T. maneuver. This slowed the vehicle causing it to leave the roadway and drive through the ditch across driveways and culverts and soon back onto the roadway where a deputy used the P.I.T. maneuver a second time causing the vehicle to stop near the intersection of 4 H Club Road and U.S. 41. The driver and passenger refused to open the doors of the car causing the deputies to bust the windows in order to remove them from the vehicle. Both occupants of the vehicle were transported to South Georgia Medical Center where they were treated and released.

The driver was identified as Bacari Oshea McCarthren and was found to be wanted by the Osceola County Florida Sheriff’s Office as a fugitive from justice due to him having outstanding warrants in that county including burglary, grand theft and aggravated fleeing to elude. The Lake County Florida Sheriff’s Office also possesses warrants for McCarthren for fleeing to elude, child endangerment/abuse and trafficking cocaine. The passenger was identified as Thomas Ezzard Chenault.

A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of approximately 88 grams of cocaine, which has a street value of $8,880.00, two handguns, one of which had been reported as stolen in DeKalb County Georgia and approximately $1,500.00 in cash.
Following their release from the hospital, both persons were transported to the Lowndes County Jail where they were booked on their respective charges. They will appear in Magistrate Court this afternoon for the consideration of a bond.

Sheriff Prine stressed that it was extremely fortunate that no one was injured during this chase.

Chenault, Thomas Ezzard
34 years old
Orlando, Florida

Charges: Trafficking cocaine – felony
Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime - felony
Bringing stolen property into the state – felony

McCarthren, Bacari Oshea
36 years old
Address unknown

Charges: Trafficking cocaine – felony
Possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime - felony
Bringing stolen property into the state – felony
Aggravated assault – felony
Felling and attempting to elude – misdemeanor
Speeding – misdemeanor
Reckless driving – misdemeanor
Driving with a suspended license – misdemeanor
Giving a false name or information - misdemeanor


Lowndes County, Georgia- August 16, 2012

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine reports that a high speed chase originated in Hamilton County this evening. The vehicle was pursued by Georgia State Patrol and Lowndes County Sheriff's Deputies once it crossed into Georgia.

The vehicle drove into Lake Park at 120 miles per hour and proceeded towards Valdosta. It then made a U-turn and drove back to Lake Park where Georgia State Patrol and sheriff's deputies were able to pit the car. They took two men into custody and recovered 2 guns, one of which was reported stolen. They also recovered what appears to be cocaine.

One of the men was taken to the South Georgia Medical Center. The other is being taken to the Lowndes County Jail. Their identities are unknown at this time.


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