theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

December 6, 2013

Fourth and final robbery suspect caught

Randy Mitchell Special Correspondent
www.theadanews.com

Ada —

A man wanted in an armed robbery was found and arrested Thursday evening after a lengthy manhunt.

Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said 24-year-old Charles Lee Katera Runnels of Ada was found at a residence in Latta at 7:30 p.m. Christian said deputies and Chickasaw Lighthorse police found Runnels hiding in a closet at the home of someone he knew.

Runnels and three other people are suspected of committing an armed robbery earlier Thursday, which led to a wild police chase that ended with a crash and manhunt.

A call went out for a robbery in progress at a residence in Shady Oaks Trailer Park on County Road 3530, just west of Ada, shortly after 10:30 a.m. 

Christian is not yet releasing details of the robbery as it is still under investigation, but he did say an assault was committed during the crime. He said the suspects knew the victims before the robbery.

The victims told authorities that four suspects fled in a small white car after the robbery. Sheriff’s deputies located the car near the intersection of Egypt Road and U.S. 377 and a pursuit began, deputies said.

Law enforcement from several agencies joined the pursuit, which continued south on the J.A. Richardson Loop at speed reaching over 100 miles per hour. 

The driver forced a deputy’s patrol car off the road after he swerved toward the patrol car and a Chickasaw Lighthorse patrol vehicle, deputies said. The patrol car hit a pole and had minor damage to the driver’s side, but the deputy was not injured. 

The suspects then left the Loop, turned north on Kerr Lab and crashed into a tree after running off the road near the intersection of 30th Street and Kerr Lab Road. 

According to deputies, one suspect, 19-year-old Kasandra Michelle Loudermilk, immediately left the car with her hands up and surrendered. Christian said three other suspects —  a 17-year-old male whose name was not released, Runnels and 36-year-old Deremy Washington of Ada —  fled after the crash. 

The 17-year-old was apprehended quickly, but Runnels and Washington got away. A perimeter was set up by sheriff’s deputies, Ada police, Chickasaw Lighthorse police and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, and a manhunt ensued. 

Washington was arrested about two hours after the manhunt began, when an Ada resident spotted him hiding between a shed and a fence in the resident’s backyard not far from the crash scene.

Christian said a pistol and a bag of methamphetamine were found in the suspects’ vehicle. All four were arrested on suspicion of armed robbery, conspiracy, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and attempting to elude peace officers.