Man faces multiple charges after tool and vehicle thefts, car chase

Curtiss Ballard Jr. faces multiple charges stemming from November thefts, car chase that ended with vehicle driven deep into a pasture off Hwy. 370.

Prentiss County Sheriff’s Deputies and Baldwyn Police wait for a tractor to come free a stolen car from a field just east of Baldwyn on Tuesday morning following a chase. News photo/Jason Collum

Baldwyn | Curtiss Ballard Jr. may have given new meaning to the phrase “drive it like you stole it.” He also made new plans for Thanksgiving in the process.

Prentiss County deputies arrested Ballard, 49, of Booneville, on Tuesday, Nov. 26 following a high-speed chase which saw him ultimately drive the stolen Chevrolet Impala deep into a field at the Jack Davis property where Hwy. 370 turns toward Pratts. Baldwyn Police reported the car theft early Tuesday morning after it was reported to have been taken from the parking lot of the Chevron B-Quick on North Fourth Street in Baldwyn. Later in the morning he was spotted by authorities. In the ensuing run Ballard struck a utility pole at the corner of 2nd Street and Industrial Park Drive in Baldwyn. The impact shattered the pole, dropping the phone line across both streets. Still, Ballard kept going.

During his run from law enforcement on Nov. 26, Curtiss Ballard Jr. allegedly struck this utility pole at the corner of Industrial Park Drive and 2nd Street in Baldwyn, bringing it and the phone line down. News photo/Jason Collum

Sheriff Randy Tolar said the chase stretched several miles before coming to an end in the field.

“He made a big round,” Tolar said. “He went north on Hwy. 145 up to the gin at Wheeler, then came back down (County Road) 5011 to here. If they hadn’t have stayed on him so hot he probably would have stayed on the road.”

In the last hurrah of his run, Ballard, rather than stay on Hwy. 370, turned onto a gravel road on the Davis property, tore through a barbed wire fence and then drove several hundred yards down and through a field before coming to a stop. Authorities were able to apprehend him and arrest him at that time without further incident.

Ballard was transported to the Prentiss County Jail and had warrants out on him from Prentiss County, Tippah County and the Baldwyn Police Department. Some of those warrants stemmed from allegations Ballard had stolen a pickup and tools from a County Road 7131 resident.

According to Tolar, on November 15 the Prentiss County Sheriff’s Department received a report that the CR 7131 resident’s 1998 Chevrolet truck and multiple tools had been stolen by Ballard. That vehicle was recovered on Nov. 24 by the Baldwyn Police Department.

All of the stolen tools from County Road 7131 were recovered from a residence inside Lee County.

Ballard has been charged with felony taking of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, and failure to stop a motor vehicle when officer signals. Bond was set at $75,000. He was also under supervision by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Ballard’s case will be presented to the next Prentiss County Grand Jury.