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For two hours, police in Burleson and Lee Counties were led along highways and down county roads at speeds even Dale Earnhardt would frown upon.
"We're fortunate that most of the people drive like they're supposed to, but every now and then, you have somebody that steals a car or something worse," says Burleson County Sheriff Thomas Barber.
Something worse started just after 8 p.m. Sunday, when an officer clocked a driver going 90 mph on County Road 3058. But he would not stop. He was obviously familiar with the back roads, as he led authorities on a rural race on several county roads.
Eventually, he found his way onto Highway 21, where the recent candidates for sheriff, Dale Stroud and Mike Brackman, as well as Sheriff Barber, joined this race.
"We have a pursuit policy where we don't want them hitting anything or going too fast or hitting a person," says Barber, "but when you get somebody that we think is going to kill somebody and trying to hit us, then we do our best to stop them."
And that's what officers attempted when the driver began running people off the road. Brackman was able to get the pickup off of Highway 21, but his squad car was intentionally rammed, leaving the squad car damaged on the side of the road. Another Burleson County vehicle blew a tire.
At speeds upwards of 110 mph, he made his way to Dime Box in Lee County, before Burleson and Lee County officers, as well as a Somerville police officer who joined the chase, were able to stop him. A Lee County car and the Somerville vehicle also suffered minor damage.
The driver tried to flee the vehicle, but was caught soon after. Charges are pending.
Sheriff Barber says his department will continue to operate as normal despite the damaged cars.
"We have enough vehicles that we can supply these two officers with needed vehicles," Barber says.
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