Authorities chased a stolen truck for over an hour on Monday night across Lafayette and out into different areas of Macon County. The chase, led by Lafayette Police, eventually involved one to two county units, a THP unite and three city officers.
“We got a call stating that the Ford F150 truck that was stolen earlier in the weekend was spotted on Galen Road,” said Lafayette Police Chief Ray Amalfitano. “It was coming towards the city. When Sgt Tucker and Sgt Ruez arrived out in the Galen Road area, at 8:02, they advised that it was indeed the vehicle that was reported stolen. They attempted to stop the vehicle for an investigation, and they called it in that the vehicle wasn’t stopping and that he was running.”
The chase continued outside the city, and pursuing units observed the driver to be male and dark complected. THP put out spike strips at one point, which the driver avoided and bypassed. Amalfitano said joined the chase at Coleytown and 52 and got in front of the driver, “to slow him down before he got into heavier traffic. He got behind me and tried to ram me.” Speeds, he said, were at least 70 miles per hour several times.
When the chase turned back towards the city again, Amalfitano advised Corporal Flatt to stay inside the city because they were headed his way. “I wanted the nearest intersection—which was over at La Tia’s—I wanted that intersection cleared out the best way he could get it, because the driver was driving erratically.”
After a brief turn down Old RBS road, the suspect went westbound on 52 and was pursued towards Westmoreland.
“Finally,” said Amalfitano, “we turned right onto Old Hwy 52, went up that road a short ways, and then he just stopped real hard and cut right, forcing me to stop abruptly. He went off into a ditch, came back outa and went airborne, and then came back down into a driveway and hit a concrete wall that goes down into a basement.
“The only thing that I was able to see was smoke and dust all over the place. I was able to get out of my car to see if he was still in his, and he had taken off immediately, running towards a field.
“Sgt Ruez got his canine and they started tracking him. Sgt Ruez tripped—it was very low light—over a cattle walk. It’s very easy to trip over those. And they tracked him about 600 yards into a wooded area. Our canine became very hot, and we had to stop the track so that the canine could rest. We were in some very heavy and thick brush. THP got their helicopter in the air with the infrared, and we tracked probably another 3.5 miles in the woods. Then it turned out that it wasn’t the actual subject. It was a horse that the infrared picked up.
“So we returned back to the wreck scene. This truck was reported stolen in our city from Green’s Automotive over the weekend, so the owner of the truck has been notified that we got the truck back. And we have a lead right now that we’re following on the driver.”
Katherine Bosley, a resident on Pumpkintown road, saw the chase come into her own yard at one point. “My little girl was playing behind the house here in her little pool,” she said. “And when they came around the side of the house, they came within 8-10 feet of my daughter. It took my husband a minute to realize they were coming across the driveway, and then he just grabbed her and ran.”
The Sheriff’s Department reports another stolen truck incident that occurred within the same 24 hour period, after a black pickup was reported missing out of a resident’s driveway. Authorities say they have no reason to think the two thefts are linked.
“Sunday night, a Macon resident walked outside and found his truck missing,” said Det. Bryon Satterfield. “It’s a 2006 black Dodge pickup. The neighbors had seen someone walking down the road prior to this. The neighbors also stated that they’d seen the vehicle driving down the road.
“Then yesterday [Monday], the sheriff’s department received information that the truck had been located on the East side of the county. Deputy Kimball Hall did make contact with the vehicle, but then the subject got in the vehicle and ran. We all stayed in that area trying to locate the individual in the vehicle and we were not able to locate him. The city was also looking for it. He’s still in that truck; we’re still looking for him.”
Rumors have been passed around among local residents that up to four trucks were stolen this weekend. Only these two have been officially reported.