Archived Story

Two arrested after car chase

Published 11:31pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick thinking led to the unlikely arrest of two Montgomery men who allegedly tried to elude police after speeding away from the scene of an Alexander City burglary Monday.

Lavette Cortez Varner and Tony Lezachary Barganier, both of Montgomery, led police on a car chase before they were stopped and arrested Monday afternoon.

None of the stolen items, which included firearms and electronics, were found in the suspects’ car, but they remain suspects in the case, said Alexander City Police Capt. Robert Miller.

Cortez was charged with second-degree possession of marijuana and Barganier was charged with second-degree possession of marijuana, attempting to elude police and various traffic charges. Police found the drug during a search of the vehicle.

“The initial chase started because (officers) saw the two possible suspects involved exit the woods behind the location of the burglary,” Alexander City Police Chief Charles Rafford said. “(The suspects) got into their car, started to leave and refused to stop.”

The incident unfolded when two officers, an Alexander City police officer and a state trooper, noticed a “suspicious” silver Crown Victoria at a home on Farm Loop. They were preparing to set up an unrelated roadblock when the officers began searching the area, Miller said.

He said that’s when the officers saw two men run out of a wooded area behind at the Farm Loop home. The men ran to the Crown Victoria and drove away onto Alabama 63 sparking a chase that stretched past the Elmore County line into Eclectic, Miller said.

The roads were relatively clear of other drivers and there were no reported injuries in the chase, which reached about 80 miles per hour at times, Miller added. A second Alexander City police officer and multiple Eclectic police officers joined in the chase and executed a successful stop.

“That was excellent police work,” Miller said of the initial investigation.

Alabama State Troopers took the men into custody without incident.

Investigators later found one of the stolen items, a TV, along a trail in the wooded area from where the suspects ran, Miller said.

They were taken to the Tallapoosa County Jail where they are currently awaiting a bond hearing. Police continue to investigate the case.

Miller said the suspects could face additional charges.