Alleged Walmart TV thief faces additional charges in 120 mph chase

lfabian@macon.comDecember 28, 2012 

The Macon woman who is charged with leading a 120 mph chase up Interstate 75 in a Cadillac full of stolen Walmart televisions is wanted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Tabitha Michelle Whitehead is presumed to be living on Easy Street off Macon’s Log Cabin Drive.

She posted a $6,283 bond Thursday to be released from the Bibb County jail.

The 28-year-old, who jail records show spent less than 10 hours behind bars in her 15th trip to Bibb’s jail, also could face charges from the Butts County’s Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol, said Monroe sheriff’s Lt. Brad Freeman.

It was Monroe County deputies who were staring down the cream-colored Escalade with the “TOOKEY” custom license plate as it barreled through their interstate territory at about 3 a.m. Thursday.

Macon police had alerted the county to their north that the SUV was headed toward Forsyth after dodging a Macon police officer.

Witnesses, who watched the driver toss the TVs into the SUV and speed through the parking lot of the Walmart on Gray Highway, had gotten a good description of the car.

The Macon officer quickly spotted her on a nearby side street, but she was quicker.

She drove onto I-75 on a wild ride that included dodging Monroe County’s “stop sticks” awaiting her at mile marker 196, getting nailed by similar bait set by Butts County at mile marker 205, getting off the interstate at Ga. 16, and rolling down a few country roads before getting back on 16 -- driving on the wrong side of the road ­-- with two flat tires, Freeman said.

“At that point she’s a danger to everybody,” he said. “She’s going to cause a head-on collision if you don’t PIT her.”

A Monroe deputy was able to perform the technique on the crippled Escalade, which was still going 50 mph.

The SUV went into a spin and turned over on its side in Butts County.

Macon police would later return the two 47-inch LG televisions, 39-inch Samsung and the 37-inch Vizio to the Walmart store in Macon.

“You can imagine the scratch and dent sale,” Freeman said.

Whitehead was checked by emergency workers at the scene and taken to Bibb County, although Monroe County already had a hold on her, Freeman said.

“She was released, and now we have warrants on her,” Freeman said.

Whitehead is charged with felony fleeing, attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, reckless driving and speeding in Monroe County.

The Escalade was rocketing through their jurisdiction at almost twice the speed limit.

Under Georgia’s so-called “Super Speeder” law, fines will be hefty for charges of traveling 120 mph in both 65 and 75 mph speed zones.

After the chase, Whitehead was booked in Macon on charges of felony theft by shoplifting, eluding police, reckless driving, failure to obey a traffic control device, failure to maintain lane and driving without a license.

When Freeman was asked if any of the pursuing deputies wondered about the “TOOKEY” moniker on the tag, Freeman said it was not her vehicle, so not likely her nickname.

Although Freeman expects it to be much easier to find and catch Whitehead this time, he did say anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.

To contact writer Liz Fabian,

call 744-4303.

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