Chronicle of horror
PORT ALLEN-Investigators said a report of a kidnapping and rape led to a nearly 40-mile chase from West Baton Rouge Parish across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge and almost into Lafayette Wednesday.
Col. Richie Johnson with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said Courtney Lacey is being charged with simple rape and false imprisonment. Johnson said Lacey has a long criminal record in multiple parishes.
Investigators said they received calls from a motel outside Port Allen of a woman jumping out of a van. Two off-duty deputies in the area checked it out, and said they saw a woman arguing with a man in the van to apparently get a child away from him. The child was handed over, and the driver fled from deputies.
Louisiana State Police said Lacey fled in the van onto I-10 and across the bridge into St. Martin Parish, where he was stopped by spike strips deployed by authorities and taken into custody.
DOTD traffic cameras showed the chase and resulting crime scene created a long traffic jam along the bridge. State Police covering the Lafayette area said there were no injuries as a result of the chase.
At the Budget 7 Motel, witnesses told WBRZ, the woman said she was abused inside a motel room all night and her child was forced to stay in the bathroom.
"She jumped out of the car and rolled. I thought he was going to run over her because he hit his brakes real fast and he jumped out and tackled her like a football player," Tonya Werchan, who saw the altercation, said.
"He punched her right in the head and we knew we had to step in," Werchan said.