LaPlace RaceTrac scene for early morning robbery

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 22, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The armed robbery of a LaPlace gas station ended in a high-speed pursuit and the arrest of a New Orleans man early Tuesday morning.

New Orleans resident Eric Lewis allegedly entered the RaceTrac gas station on Airline Highway at approximately 4:30 a.m. on a crack high, and handed the cashier a handwritten note that demanded she empty the cash register and give him the money, police said.

The cashier, an active member of the Louisiana Army Reserve, gave in to Lewis’ demands but bravely followed him out of the gas station and took pictures of him, his car and license plate, with a cell phone and used the pictures to give police a complete description of Lewis.

Minutes after the robbery Sgt. John Baker of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office attempted to pull over Lewis on Highway 51 and Woodland Boulevard, but Lewis accelerated and began heading east on Interstate 10 at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, according to the St. John Sheriff’s Office.

Police continued following Lewis as he headed southbound on Interstate 310, and the chase, which lasted over seven minutes, abruptly ended when Lewis lost control of his vehicle and crashed.

Officers apprehended Lewis after the crash and transported him to the St. Charles Parish Hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the crash.

He is being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility with no bond for first degree robbery and contempt of court. He is wanted by authorities in Chicago, Illinois for aggravated battery with a weapon. Illinois police are willing to extradite Lewis upon his release from Louisiana authorities.

Lewis told officers that he couldn’t remember much of the incident because of his crack cocaine problem, according to the St. John Sheriff’s Office.