The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Bureau of Investigators (ALEA SBI) is investigating after a multi-county chase led to the driver being shot by police.
Albertville Police Chief Jamie Smith said the chase started shortly before 4 p.m. in Blount County when Snead Police tried to stop a blue Ford Explorer. The reason for the initial stop is not known.
Law enforcement blocked off the scene to through traffic while they investigate following the chase.
The Explorer started heading north on Alabama Highway 75 toward Albertville and passed through Douglas. When it approached the Albertville Airport, officers with the Albertville Police Department deployed spike strips, which flattened one of the tires of the suspect's vehicle.
However, the car refused to stop and continued north.
Smith said the chase continued into DeKalb County where it was joined by both the Geraldine Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office.
When the vehicle made its way through downtown Geraldine, Smith said the driver tried to hit officers and ended up striking a deputy vehicle. That's when Smith said officers fired multiple shots into the car and hit the driver.
That driver was taken to Marshall Medical Center South by DeKalb Ambulance Service and then airlifted to Huntsville Hospital. Smith said he was last listed in stable condition.
ALEA SBI is now handling the investigation and the officers from the Albertville Police Department involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave per department protocol.
WAAY 31 spoke with a man who says the suspect ran him off the road before he was stopped by police.
“Christmas in the summer is what it looks like," Neal Hawkins said.
Sunday night brought the most flashing blue lights Hawkins said he’d ever seen on Highway 75 in his hometown, Geraldine.
“It’s pretty wild," he said. "Mind-blowing. Every day, it seems like it’s getting crazier and crazier.”
Officers had to use their patrol vehicles and bullets to stop the suspect’s vehicle. Investigators told WAAY 31 the suspect was shot, too. It’s something those from Geraldine never thought they’d hear.
“My wife saw it on facebook and she was like, ‘We’re going home.’ I was like, ‘I want to see what’s going on.’ Nothing happens like this from here," Rickey Harris said.
Neal Hawkins said the driver of the vehicle police were after almost hit him head on, causing him to have to pull off the road.
“If it had been thirty seconds earlier, it could’ve been probably bad, because while it’s not really a blind spot, it’s very close," he said.
But Hawkins wasn’t just worried about himself.
“It’s a main highway into Georgia and it’s pretty busy," he said. "Could’ve killed a family.”
“I’m just glad my kids are safe," Rickey Harris added.
Hawkins said he was glad no officers were hurt in the incident and was proud of the way they handled the situation.
“I hope justice is served and he’s out of harms-reach of hurting or harming anybody that’s innocently going down the road," he said.
The suspect has not yet been identified.