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Truck thief leads police on long-distance pursuit
Feb 02, 2006 12:00 am
January 30, 2006
A suspect fleeing the Toshiba plant late Saturday night led Lebanon Police on a five-county chase before the stolen tractor trailer he was driving crashed on I-24 about 10 miles from the Kentucky state line.
Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said that in response to a number of tractor trailer thefts in the area around Toshiba, State Road 109 and the Sparta Pike, police had the area under surveillance Saturday.
Officers observed at least two "suspicious trailers," Bowen said, and attempted to intercept one as it was pulling out of the lot.
The driver of that truck ran through the gate in an attempt to avoid the police.
Bowen said at that time LPD officers began their pursuit of the vehicle. The decision was based in part because the truck was for a time towing part of the Toshiba gate, and partly because it was traveling at a reasonable rate of speed.
"Speed was not a factor, which was fortunate considering it was on the interstate," Bowen said.
The chase, which lasted over an hour and involved law enforcement from all five counties, including Metro Davidson, ended when the truck ran off the road in Clarksville.
But the driver fled and is still on the loose, Bowen said.
Police, however, were able to recover a cell phone from inside the cab. Bowen said police believe the driver was making calls while fleeing the scene, and that evidence may lead police to the suspect.
"We have a good idea about who he is," Bowen said.
Also, the police detained an individual who they found "hiding" on the Toshiba property. LPD and FBI officials have interviewed the suspect, who is being held in the Wilson County jail pending charges, Bowen said.
Officers were able to recover two additional trucks that were under surveillance Saturday.
Bowen said the believe all three trucks are stolen because all have had their ignitions removed and have been hot-wired.
Between the suspect they have in custody and the driver who is still at large, Bowen said he believes they have found the group responsible for a string of similar robberies that have plagued the area recently, especially in the last few months.
"We fully suspect that these are our guys," Bowen said.
Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.