Almost nothing could stop an attempted murder suspect fleeing authorities in northern California on Wednesday, deputies said.
Then came the one-lane bridge.
Earlier in the afternoon, Cortez Lamont Little, 27, had refused to pull over for Fortuna, California, police officers as they tried to apprehend him around 3:30 p.m., according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
Little sped off in his white Jeep Compass rental car and led authorities on a high-speed chase going south down Highway 101, the sheriff’s office said. Little was clocked driving 100 miles per hour and faster at times. He had two passengers in the vehicle with him.
Around 4 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers joined the chase, the Times-Standard reports. Highway Patrol tried a handful of times to put out spike strips to disable Little’s vehicle, but Little drove into the northbound lanes of the highway to avoid hitting the spikes, authorities said.
Eventually, Little got off Highway 101 and turned onto Mattole Road, heading west toward the small town of Honeydew. Residents of the town heard the chase was coming their way and decided “enough was enough,” according to the sheriff’s office. They leaped into action.
One resident took his PT Cruiser and parked it at the end of the Honeydew Bridge, a single-lane span that crosses the Mattole River. That meant the fugitive driver couldn’t get through, deputies said.
And it worked. Little stopped his car at one end of the bridge, and was taken into custody following a “tense standoff” with the highway patrol, the sheriff’s office said.
Little was booked at the Humboldt County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. He now faces extradition to Tennessee, where he’s wanted on a felony warrant for attempted first degree murder.
A woman who was in the car did not face charges and was released, deputies said. But the male passenger in the rental car — Christopher Mallory, 26 — was arrested and taken to the Humboldt County Jail on charges of resisting arrest and possessing marijuana for sales.
Mallory was released from jail Wednesday night, according to jail records.
Little also faces a slew of felony charges in California following the chase, the sheriff’s office said, including felony evading, kidnapping, possession of marijuana for sales, reckless driving and driving the wrong way on a divided highway.
“Thanks to a brave community member, a violent criminal is now off of the streets,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. “This is a great example of how all of our local law enforcement work together with the community to fight crime and make our community safer.”
Had Little’s chase occurred a few years down the road, however, it might have ended differently: The county has plans to replace the quaint but outdated 1920 bridge with a two-lane update, the North Coast Journal reports.
Construction could begin next year, according to KIEM.