A woman who slashed a Bradley County deputy on I-75 and stole his patrol car crashed the vehicle and died, possibly from the deputy's gunfire, according to authorities.
Deputy Dustin Patrick was cut on the hand but not seriously injured, Bradley Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Gault said.
He said a motorist called the sheriff's office about 2 p.m. today after seeing a woman walking north on I-75 with two young children.
Patrick found her just north of exit 20 and got out of his cruiser to talk to her. As they talked, the woman pulled a knife and began slashing at the officer, Gault said.
The deputy pulled his weapon and fired as the woman jumped into the cruiser and sped away north. Just past the Harrison Pike overpass, she lost control of the cruiser, crashed through a fence onto Third Street and struck a tree. She was taken to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga, where she died, Gault said.
Authorities found a car at exit 20 that they believe the woman had been driving, which Gault said had been reported stolen.
The woman's identity was not released and no information was immediately available on the children.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation, Gault said. Deputy Patrick, who joined the department in 2005, will be on administrative leave with pay while the investigation continues.
See Sunday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.