Man leads police on slow-speed chase with stolen tractor in North Carolina | North Carolina
Call it a slow-speed chase.
“What a day,” wrote Andy LeBeau, the police chief of Boone, North Carolina, in a Facebook post. “So, many of you have heard, or have seen the videos, that we got in a pursuit with a tractor.”
Indeed, on Tuesday morning, Boone county police received several calls about a man who was erratically driving a John Deere tractor.
Ronnie Hicks, 43, was driving the stolen tractor in a parking lot, attempting to hit pedestrians and several vehicles, police said.
When officers attempted to stop Hicks, he drove the tractor down US Highway 421 south, leading police down several interstates and highways.
The pursuit reached blistering speeds of 20mph (32 km/h), according to the Watauga Online.
Soon other police vehicles joined in, with Watauga sheriff’s deputies and North Carolina State highway patrol troopers assisting Boone police in chasing down Hicks.
At one point, tire deflation devices were deployed in an attempt to stop Hicks, but “were not terribly effective on the tractor”, said LeBeau, blowing out the tractor’s front tires but failing to stop him.
Along the way, Hicks struck a Boone county police car, a dumpster, a church and several vehicles, though no injuries were sustained.
Eventually he pulled into a private drive, abandoned the stolen tractor, fled on foot, turned, brandished a knife, was Tased by officers and arrested.
Videos of the pursuit were posted across social media. “How many Units does it take to track a Deere?” asked one Facebook user.
“I was like, ‘What is this guy doing? It’s not safe. There’s kids who play up here. There’s a little school right here,’” local resident Mark Denny, who witnessed the chase, told WSOC-TV 9. “Why, why are you going to steal a tractor and drive it on the back roads? It didn’t make any sense to me.”
Hicks, whom police described as being “very familiar with”, was arrested on several charges including reckless driving and driving while impaired.