Grand Jury clears deputies, troopers in fatal chase shooting

46-year-old Spencer Bailey IV was shot and killed following a high speed chase with police in 2017

Staff Writer

As expected, a Lowndes County Grand Jury has cleared local deputies and state troopers of any wrong in the March 27, 2017 shooting death of 46-year-old Spencer Bailey IV following a chase through three counties.

It’s still unclear what action the state Department of Public Safety might have taken against a trooper who shot Lowndes County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Forrester during the incident.

The state Attorney General’s office presented the results of a Mississippi Bureau of Investigation probe into the shooting to the Grand Jury last month. The “no true bill results” were released this week when it was filed with the courts.

The case was scheduled to be presented in February earlier this year but weather canceled that and then the lead case agent wasn’t available to present it during the April Grand Jury term.

As the Starkville Daily first reported last December, Forrester and others were expected to be cleared.

The report included dash-cam video from a state trooper SUV that is one of the first cars to pull up on Bailey’s Hyundai SUV. It is parked about 25 feet behind the Hyundai with three other law enforcement vehicles parked in a fan-array to its left.

When Bailey finally stops after being chased from Mathiston in Webster County on suspicion of DUI, four officers, most believed to be from Lowndes County, race up to the driver’s side of the vehicle trying to get the doors open and Bailey out.

It’s unclear whether the officers are aware Bailey is armed and had brandished his weapon at state troopers earlier. One of the things that apparently came out of the investigation is improved communication between troopers and local agencies in situations like the Bailey chase so officers don’t race into dangerous situations.

Forrester is the fifth officer to run up to the car and he goes to the passenger side front door. Two troopers also approach, one slightly behind Forrester and the other about 15 feet behind the Hyundai, those who have seen the video describe.

Seconds after Forrester gets to the passenger door, at least one shot rings out from inside the car as Bailey fires at least once. Some who have seen the video say they think they heard two shots.
Forrester begins returning fire on Bailey, shooting at least six times, striking him as he sits in the car.

At the same time, the officers on the driver’s side retreat backwards, including one who crawls backwards on his stomach.

The two troopers in the rear and to the rear right also open fire, one as he is retreating down the hill that slopes away from Highway 82 near the Highway 50 interchange where Bailey stopped. The trooper behind the Hyundai also begins shooting, at one point apparently falling down even as he is emptying his weapon’s chamber.

During his shooting, Forrester is seen grabbing his leg and then stumbling backwards down the hill.

Forrester was hospitalized, underwent surgery, and returned to duty.

At the time, it was widely reported he was shot by Bailey.

The incident started at 10:07 a.m. the morning of March 27 when a Webster County sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop the Hyundai SUV Bailey was driving. It ended at about 10:30 a.m. when Bailey was killed after spike sticks disabled the tires on the vehicle along Highway 82 near the Highway 50 eastbound exit.

Two handguns were found on the seat in his SUV.