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PRCSO captures two suspects after dangerous high speed chase

Eric Donston Charmaine Wheat

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office (PRCSO) had a very dangerous, but fortunately safe day for its officers and the public on Monday, January 29, when they were involved in a very dangerous situation that included a high speed chase of a fleeing felon.

Chief Deputy Shane Tucker told WRJW News that around 2:15pm on Monday, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a man who said that Eric Donston, age 35, was at the caller’s house making threats with a shotgun. The man called from a residence located at 53 American Sand and Gravel Road in Poplarville.

Tucker stated, “Because Donston had a weapon and there was the potential of a hostage situation, or someone could be fired upon with a weapon like that, we felt the need to formulate a plan very quickly and to implement it, which we did.”

According to Tucker, law enforcement authorities were aware of Donston’s history. In a previous encounter, Donston had led Poplarville Police on a high speed chase that endangered many lives and he was not captured during that chase. Donston had an outstanding warrant for felony fleeing for that incident.

Additionally, Pearl River County had ten felony warrants on Donston; five for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and five for possession of stolen firearms. Tucker said that on December 8, 2017, PRCSO deputies had spotted Donston, but due to dangerous weather conditions created by snow on that day, they chose to abandon pursuit of Donston due to a fear of possibly putting the public and deputies at risk due to the road conditions.

As part of the plan, Tucker said PRCSO deployed deputies at the end of American Sand and Gravel Road just before the intersection of Highway 26 and those deputies had spike strips ready to deploy if Donston was able to escape the area around the house.

When PRCSO deputies and detectives arrived at the house, they observed Donston standing in the yard near a pickup truck with the hood raised on the truck. Donston jumped in the truck and sped away with the hood still up on the truck. Deputies attempted to block him in, but the yard was so wide, Donston was able to get around them and he headed toward the deputies at the end of the American Sand and Gravel Road. He swerved in an attempt to avoid the spike strips and also tried to hit one of the deputies with the truck, but both passenger side tires on the truck hit the strips. At some point, Tucker said that Donston reached out around the windshield and slammed the hood shut while driving the truck down the road toward Highway 26.

Donston turned west on Highway 26 toward Poplarville at a high rate of speed and several vehicles had to leave the road to avoid being hit by Donston. During this time, the tires on the passenger side had disintegrated and came off the vehicle, but Donston continued driving at a high rate of speed and forced numerous drivers to exit the road. Despite the difficulty of keeping control of the truck while running on just rims on the passenger side, Donston continued to drive at a high rate of speed toward Poplarville.

Tucker said that at 2:57pm, Donston was approaching an area not far from school traffic which would have been a very dangerous situation for the public, but fortunately Donston turned right on McGehee Street, which is just past the Poplarville Police Department.

Once on McGehee Street, Donston continued to run other vehicles off the road with his reckless, high speed driving and he eventually made his way to Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. When Donston turned right on South Jordan Street, he lost control of the truck and rammed into a house. Donston exited the truck and ran into a wooded area with several deputies in pursuit on foot. Tucker said thedeputies caught Donston about 30 to 40 feet into the woods and he took him to the ground. Donston aggressively resisted arrest, but deputies were finally able to get him handcuffed and escorted him out of the wooded area.

Tucker said they found a shotgun in the driver compartment of the truck that had a pistol grip and sawed-off barrel. There was also a female in the backseat of the truck, identified as 46 year old Charmaine Wheat. According to Tucker Wheat had been with Donston for a couple days and was later charged with hindering prosecution for helping Donston elude authorities for approximately one week.

Donston was served with all of the outstanding warrants mentioned, a Mississippi Department of Corrections probation violation, and another felony fleeing charge for the chase that day. Tucker said the Poplarville Police also had a warrant on Donston for aggravated assault (felony). Donston was also charged for another count of possession of a weapon for a convicted felon.

After deputies and detectives searched the truck, they found methamphetamine and scales. Donston and Wheat were subsequently charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia. Additionally, Donston was charged with retaliation against a public servant because he threatened one of the PRCSO deputies at the scene when he was captured.

Chief Deputy Tucker was thankful that no one was injured during the chase of Donston and wanted to express the gratitude of the PRCSO to the community.

“We are sure that this turned out with no one seriously injured or killed because of the prayers we receive from our community. We want to thank everyone who keeps us in their prayers. We feel the presence of their prayers daily and especially in this type situation,” said Tucker.


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