published Saturday, May 21st, 2011

TBI investigating Bradley deputy shooting

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Anthony Pickel was gardening at his family’s home Saturday when he heard several gunshots and saw a Bradley County patrol car careen across the road and into a tree.

“The first thing that’s going through my mind is there’s going to a be a cop in there in uniform,” said Pickel, 46.

Instead, he saw a woman wearing a dress, slumped over and bleeding. He watched her arm flinch and heard her take several labored breaths.

“All of a sudden I look down at the driver’s door and there’s bullet holes in it,” he said. “I’m sitting there putting two and two together. I kept asking if she was all right, and she wouldn’t respond. ... Just about that time, cops come running from the interstate across the road. I got out of the way, and they took over.”

Pickel didn’t know that moments earlier, the woman had slashed Deputy Dustin Patrick with a knife on the side of Interstate 75 and zoomed off in his cruiser as he fired his service weapon trying to stop her.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has the job of untangling the frenzied moments that led up to the crash.

The woman, whose identity had not been released late Saturday, died at Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga, Bradley Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bob Gault said.

Patrick was cut on the hand and his injuries aren’t life-threatening, Gault said. He will remain on administrative leave with pay during the investigation.

Gault said several motorists called 911 on Saturday afternoon to report a woman and two small children were walking north on I-75.

Patrick, who joined the force in 2005, caught up with her at mile marker 22, got out of his cruiser and began talking with her, Gault said. While he was talking, she pulled a knife and began slashing at him, Gault said. Still slashing with the knife, she ran to the car and jumped in, leaving the children behind. It wasn’t clear Saturday whether she was in or out of the car when Patrick fired.

She roared north in the car but lost control just past the Harrison Pike overpass, careened through the fence and crashed into a tree at Harrison Pike and Third Street, Gault said.

As officers began searching for clues, they closed the northbound lanes of I-75 and set up a command post to coordinate the interagency investigation. Teams of officers canvassed in the I-75 median and others processed evidence at exit 20, where a stolen vehicle the woman was believed to have been driving was found. Still more officers examined the scene around the crashed cruiser.

The children were placed in the care of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Gault said.

He and TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said the investigation is continuing and more information may be available Sunday.

Staff writers Randall Higgins, Beth Burger, Carey O’Neil and Judy Walton contributed to this report.

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Albert911emt said...

@obviousman - Seriously, you don't think someone slashing at you with a knife, trying to stab and kill you, doesn't require a certain lethal response?

May 24, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
biofish said...


Matching lethal forces aside, if a car thief has the courage to attack and attempt to kill a police officer, then imagine what that person would do to your mother if she was unlucky enough to be standing on the sidewalk in the way of the suspect's escape? The Officer has a duty to protect citizens. If this person will try to kill an armed officer, then your family is NOTHING to them. He is sworn to protect the rest of the county and did so by firing shots. (Not to mention to protect his own life should she acquire the multiple BETTER weapons inside that car and finish the job)

Try not to sound so ignorant when you comment please "obviousman"

May 30, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
TrailerParkStud said...

Agreed,Biofish! What other choice does a cop have other than saying"please don't do that or you may be in trouble". Obviously, she didn't care anything about her kids or she wouldn't have put them in such a precarious and deadly situation. Luckily,more people weren't injured or killed. A cop has a thankless and dangerous job.

September 1, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.
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