Crime Watch

Robbery suspect identified after high-speed chase, crash on Lee Road 430


4:30 P.M. -- The Phenix City Police Department confirms the identity of the suspect who led police and sheriff's deputies on a high-speed chase following a business robbery.

Police tell News 3 the suspect, 30-year-old William Coleman of Slocomb, Alabama, entered the Always Money Loans and Cash Advance Store on Highway 80 in Phenix City asking about an account. Police said Coleman then pulled out a handgun and demanded the employee to take him to the safe.

The employee was told to go into the bathroom, lock the door and not leave as Coleman left with an undisclosed amount of money. After the employee felt Coleman left the business, they contacted police. Thanks to the vehicle description given by the employee, police spotted the vehicle. However, Coleman refused to pull over, thus beginning the pursuit.

Lee County Sheriff's Deputies assisted once the chase went into the county. The chase ended on Lee Road 430 and Lee Road 298 when Coleman's car struck the car of a Lee County Sheriff's Deputy, injuring the deputy inside.

Coleman tried to escape on foot, but was quickly tackled and taken into custody. Witnesses say he didn't make it very far.

"Not even 10 seconds," says witness Bobbie Cox. "He jumped out, they jumped out and some care chased him behind the Subway, and some went in front of it. There was a food truck, and it stopped him. He slipped on some mud."

Investigators also confiscated a gun from Coleman at the time of arrest. He now faces a slew of charges including first degree robbery, driving with a suspended license, attempting to elude, reckless driving, and endangerment.

More charges could be forthcoming in Lee County.

The injured deputy is being treated for non-life threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.


SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- There is a heavy police and Lee County Sheriff's office presence on Lee Road 430 where witnesses say a vehicle has crashed with a patrol car.

The witnesses tell News 3 the crash seems to have been the end of a high-speed chase between a suspect and law enforcement. Photos from the scene show the unidentified suspect being taken into custody.

Lee County investigators confirm the chase began after a possible business robbery in Phenix City. Sheriff Jay Jones says a deputy was injured and taken to East Alabama Medical Center for treatment to non-life threatening injuries. The case remains under investigation.

Traffic is being directed around the crash site, but the roadway remains open at this time.

Sheriff Jones tells WRBL nearby schools are "aware and secure".

This is a developing story. Stay with WRBL News 3 for updates.

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