Driver shot dead after striking trooper

Published 7:02 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009

A man was shot and killed Thursday afternoon on I-65 after he struck an Alabama State Trooper with his car and attempted to flee, said officials.

The confrontation happened at approximately 1:23 p.m. just south of the Grace/Garland exit and in Conecuh County, said Trooper John Reese, public information officer.

Reese said the Evergreen Trooper Post received a call from a driver on I-65, reporting a suspect driving a red, Geo Tracker recklessly in the northbound lane. He said troopers responded to the call and after a 10-mile pursuit forced the vehicle to halt.

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“When one of the troopers got out of his car to approach the vehicle, the suspect accelerated and struck the trooper with his car, knocking him to the ground,” said Reese. “Troopers opened fire on the suspect’s car.”

Reese said the trooper was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

After the gunfire, Reese said the car left the northbound lane and crossed the median, hitting a barrier in the southbound lane.

Reese said ABI agents were conducting the investigation. Investigators removed the suspect’s body from the scene at approximately 5 p.m.

Four Butler County sheriff’s units, including Sheriff Kenny Harden, responded to assist with the initial pursuit of the suspect.

“We then received word that the suspect was stopped,” said Harden. “Then the call came out that shots and been fired and an ambulance was needed. We kept going.”

Harden said when he and his deputies arrived on the scene they assisted with the preliminary investigation.

“There were very few people there at the time…a couple of state troopers, Conecuh County sheriff’s deputies, Evergreen police,” he said. “We took some statements from witnesses to help the ABI. This just goes to show you how quickly something bad can happen.”

Reese said on Friday the suspect’s name, and that of the injured trooper, would not be released at this time, due to the sensitivity of the incident. Reese did say the suspect was from Bay Minette. He said the ABI could identify the suspect as early as Monday.

“We want to make sure we put all the pieces of the puzzle together to try and understand what happened,” he said.

– Updated to include comments from Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden.