On Wednesday, a Florida man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, Mark Allen Snellgrove, 29, of Crestview, Florida, was arrested on February 24, 2021, after he led police on a high-speed chase that injured two officers. That morning, officers had responded to a report of a suspicious truck loitering at a gas station in Bay Minette, Alabama. Upon arrival at the station, officers spoke with Snellgrove, the truck’s driver. Snellgrove gave officers a false name and failed to produce a valid identification.
While officers spoke with him, Snellgrove started his truck and floored the gas pedal, forcing an officer standing nearby to hang onto the truck’s steering wheel while it accelerated toward a light pole.
Snellgrove’s truck hit another officer’s parked car and slammed into the pole, the impact of which caused serious injuries to the officer who was clinging to the truck’s steering wheel. That officer tased Snellgrove, who snatched the taser leads out of his chest and sped his truck in reverse into oncoming traffic the wrong way down Hand Avenue, a busy four-lane thoroughfare.
During the twenty-minute chase that ensued, Snellgrove forced many bystander cars off the road, attempted to ram a police vehicle head-on; drove through numerous stop signs and lighted intersections; drove through residential yards; crashed through a mailbox; and sped through a ditch to avoid a spike strip. At times during the pursuit, Snellgrove reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.
Officers eventually ended the chase in a wooded driveway of a private residence by ramming into Snellgrove’s truck and pinning it in place. Snellgrove refused verbal commands to get out of the truck and had to be taken down by a tracking dog. A passenger in the truck, codefendant Rodger Anthony Manning, also refused to get out and bit an officer on the finger as he resisted arrest.
Along the pursuit route, officers found a stolen 9mm pistol that had been thrown from the passenger side of Snellgrove’s truck during the chase. Officers also seized a stolen .45-caliber pistol from the truck near where Manning had been sitting in the backseat. Forensic analysis of the guns revealed Snellgrove’s DNA on the 9mm pistol and Manning’s DNA on the .45-caliber pistol. At the time Snellgrove possessed the pistol, he knew he had been convicted of felony drug offenses in Okaloosa County, Florida in 2019. Snellgrove’s felony convictions rendered his possession of the pistol illegal under federal law.
Senior United States District Judge Callie V.S. Granade ordered Snellgrove to serve a three-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison, during which time he will undergo drug testing and treatment. The court did not impose a fine, but Judge Granade ordered Snellgrove to pay $100 in special assessments.
Snellgrove faces several pending state criminal charges in Baldwin County, Alabama, including first-degree assault, attempting to elude police, reckless endangerment, and resisting arrest. Judge Granade ordered a portion of Snellgrove’s federal sentence to run consecutively to any punishment he may receive in the related state cases. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty at trial.
In April 2022, Manning pleaded guilty to illegally possessing the stolen .45-caliber pistol found in Snellgrove’s truck. Manning is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Granade on July 13, 2022.