MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis city council member is getting a big thank-you from police, who say he stepped up to help them catch two alleged car thieves in East Memphis.

It started with a car crash at Poplar Avenue and Truse Parkway last Thursday. Police say a man and a woman in that car tried to leave the scene.

Memphis City Councilman Chase Carlisle

That’s when witness Chase Carlisle, who represents the East Memphis area on City Council, snapped some photos of the accident and the suspects.

“They didn’t take off or run or anything like that, it was just a quick walk, it was very strange,” Carlisle said.

Police say leads provided by Carlisle helped them track down the suspects, who they identified as Jessie Clampitt, 25, and Brooke Peters, 26.

But Carlisle adamantly denies that he is Memphis’ own super hero. He said he was one of many people who stopped to help that day and it was photos taken by another man who stopped that helped lead to their arrest.

The vehicle they were in was found to be stolen, police said. That vehicle sustained damage in the wreck, as did an innocent bystander’s vehicle.

Clampitt and Peters are charged with felony theft of property, felony drug possession (methamphetamine) and leaving the scene of an accident.

“Many thanks to our vigilant council member for providing the leads necessary to arrest the suspects,” Memphis Police wrote on the department’s Facebook page.

Police said Clampitt was released with no bond and Peters was given a $10,000 bond.

This is the second time Carlisle is known to have been on the scene during a crime; in January 2022, he stepped in to help a woman after witnessing a robbery at Poplar and Cleveland.

“I think that because of my position as a council member, it gets picked up. I think there are a lot of people who are out there that do a lot of good. When they see something that somebody needs help or they see somebody that’s in trouble, they want to help,” Carlisle said.

This incident also comes one day after Carlisle hosted a crime summit to help find solutions to crime in the city.

“I think the thing that is disheartening about crime, is this individual stole a truck from somebody who needed it to make a living, they almost took somebody’s life, they were in possession of controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute, and we had a judge that let that person walk,” he said.

But despite the crime, Carlisle says it’s the support, and the will of the people who stopped to help that day, that gives him hope for the future. 

“The thing that was so incredibly warming about the situation was the number of people who wanted to make sure the driver who was hit was okay,” he said. “There is good in the world. We have to keep shining a light on that too.”

Last month, Carlisle said he was proposing a city budget that would provide $15 million in funding to bring up top-line MPD officer salaries to the highest level in the region.