published Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Man evades police, dodges bullet

In the middle of a police chase Tuesday afternoon, a Murray County Sheriff's Office sergeant pulled out his gun, aimed it at a car he says was rushing toward him, and pulled the trigger.

The shot did not end the chase, but soon afterward officers managed to stop Danny Frank Bramblett. They pulled him out of his stopped car and arrested the 58-year-old Chatsworth, Ga., resident on 10 charges, including aggravated assault, fleeing and reckless driving.

An incident report gives the following account: Murray County Sgt. Jody Webb sat at Georgia Route 52, near the line between Murray County and Whitfield County, looking for speeders. He saw a black 2004 Toyota Avalon race by, traveling at 76 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Webb followed the car, driven by Bramblett, but traffic was heavy. Bramblett weaved between cars, and Webb lost sight of him. But the sergeant stayed in the area, and soon after he saw the car drive by again and fell in behind it.

This time, he kept pace in his patrol car, and he flipped on his police lights and siren. But Bramblett kept driving.

Onto five streets and through a pair of stop signs, Bramblett and Webb drove, accelerating beyond 100 mph. Eventually, Bramblett steered his car onto Elton Drive, and then behind some mobile homes. Webb followed in his patrol car, but when he got to where he thought Bramblett sat, he found the Avalon had turned around and was driving toward him.

Authorities said Bramblett bounced his car off the front of Webb's vehicle, spun out of control and slid into an overgrown field. But he recovered. He accelerated from the field, almost hitting people who came outside to watch the chase, and fishtailed down a dirt road. He hit a barbed wire fence and continued driving, Webb still in pursuit.

Five more times, Bramblett pushed his car onto different roads, but he finally lost control, spinning into a ditch. He tried to accelerate back onto the road, but Webb slammed his own patrol car into Bramblett's. The sergeant wanted to push Bramblett off the road.

After the collision, Webb got out of his car. He thought Bramblett was stuck, and he was going to arrest him. As he walked toward the car, however, Bramblett pulled out of the ditch. Webb said the Avalon sped toward him.

"I was in fear for my life," he wrote in the incident report.

That's when Webb fired his weapon. He said he aimed for a front tire. But he didn't hit the tire, or the car, or Bramblett. He doesn't know where the bullet stopped.

Bramblett then drove east onto Bryson Road and then Tibbs Bridge Road.

Finally, though, other officers trapped Bramblett. They laid spike strips across Smokey Ford Road and Tibbs Bridge Road, and Bramblett ran over them. About a half mile down the road, his car stopped, and he was taken into custody.

He remained in the Murray County Jail on Wednesday without a bond.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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