Man with police ‘phobia’ leads troopers on high-speed chase

Bonnie Culverhouse

A Jackson, Miss. man traveling through Webster Parish Saturday morning was arrested by Louisiana State Police but not before leading them on a chase through two other parishes.

Matthew Denzell Fortes, 29, was driving a silver Hyundai Sonata and traveling eastbound on the interstate, when LSP Troop G officers noticed he was following another vehicle too closely.

The Troop G officer reportedly attempted a traffic stop, but the driver, later identified as Fortes failed to stop and the pursuit ensued. Fortes led troopers, along with multiple other agencies, on a high-speed pursuit from milepost 40 through Bienville and Lincoln parishes, reportedly reaching speeds of 135 to 140 miles per hour.

The report said Fortes passed multiple vehicles on the shoulders “at these speeds,” and three different tire deflation devices had to be deployed in an attempt to stop him.

The Sonata became disabled at milepost 91 in Lincoln Parish. Fortes then fled on foot into a wooded area north of I-20. While fleeing, Fortes reportedly discarded a Springfield XD 9MM with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber, which was recovered along the path he took through the woods.

After an extensive manhunt, Fortes was located and arrested without further incident. Post-Miranda, reports say Fortes told troopers he ran because he does not have a license and because he has a “phobia” of police. An inquiry into Forbes’ criminal history showed a pattern of arrests and convictions of multiple felonies within the past 10 years. It was also determined the Sonata was stolen and the Texas dealer tag was switched.

Fortes is charged with aggravated flight, illegal possession of stolen things, felon in possession of a firearm, following too close, switched license plate and no seatbelt.

He is incarcerated at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.