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MHP explains why they did not respond to incident on I-55, says it wasn’t in their jurisdiction

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 8:19 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been four days now since a video went viral showing people blocking off I-55 to drag race and perform other stunts with their cars.

The Jackson Police Department said it happened around 11 o’clock Friday night and lasted for roughly an hour. 

Major John Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said the reason they didn’t respond is because they didn’t know the incident was happening.

Poulos also said the portion of I-55 where the incident occurred is in the city’s jurisdiction, meaning JPD is the agency covering that area and are the ones responsible for responding.

“MHP did not receive information, but would have assisted Jackson PD if a request had been made,” said Major Poulos. “MHP responds to all incidents on state, Federal and Interstate systems outside of city municipalities. MHP will respond to incidents inside city municipalities when requested.”

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has cameras along that area of the interstate as well. When asked about the incident, Michael Flood, who is the agency’s public information officer, said they responded the same time as police.

“MDOT was alerted to the incident the same time as JPD who responded as quickly as possible,” Flood said in a statement. “Users of the MDOT Traffic app would have been able to see the real time traffic conditions and been able to find alternate routes to avoid the congestion.”

During a press conference Monday, Jackson Police Chief James Davis said the department didn’t call any other agencies to the scene because they were not exactly sure what was happening themselves. By the time they made it through the traffic to where everything was happening, Davis said the drivers sped off.

The mayor said the city has a ‘no-chase’ policy which prevented officers from going to the scene. So far, one arrest has been made. JPD said a juvenile turned themselves in on Saturday.

Police are continuing to look through the video to identify faces, vehicles and license plate numbers and expect to make more arrests.

If anyone has videos or information on the incident, you’re asked to contact the Jackson Police Department.

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