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MONDAY, JULY 23, 2007
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Police chase from Panhandle to Dothan ends after fatality

DOTHAN (AP) — A police chase that began at a Florida Panhandle convenience store ended in a collision in Dothan that killed a 66-year-old Pike County man.

James Williamson of Goshen was returning from visiting his wife in Marianna, Fla., when a truck chased by police collided with his car, according to his family.

Police said 19-year-old Phillip Lutz of Maylene has been charged with murder in Williamson’s death. He’s being held without bond in the Houston County jail. Lutz also has two felony warrants from Florida for eluding the police.

The chase began around 11 a.m. Saturday when a Jackson County, Florida deputy spotted Lutz’s Ford Ranger truck speed away from a convenience store.

In Dothan, Houston County Chief Deputy Donald Valenza says Alabama authorities picked up the chase once Lutz crossed the border.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Saunders Road and Cottonwood Road in Dothan. Two passengers in the truck, 21-year-old Tristan Goggins, and a 17-year-old, were treated for injuries.

Valenza said the officers attempted to stop Lutz with spikes set out on U.S. 231, but he drove around them. After the crash, police said they found open and closed containers of alcohol in Lutz’s truck.

Williamson leaves a wife, two sons, five grandchildren, three sisters, a brother and his mother. “He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, and he would give you the shirt off his back,” said Williamson’s younger sister, Judy Goode. “He was a wonderful person, and we can’t believe this tragedy happened.”

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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