The initial reason for which Hamilton County sheriff's deputies tried to stop a man who subsequently fled from them on Saturday was a misdemeanor offense, according to Hamilton County court records, something that may violate the sheriff's office own pursuit policy.
The man, later identified as 50-year-old Ronald Andrew Hutson, was shot at the end of the pursuit as deputies say he "tried to run [them] over."
The deputy who pulled the trigger, Jordan Long, has been at the center of three pursuits and shootings, one of which was fatal, in the past three months. He also faced a lawsuit that accused him of yanking a man into oncoming traffic during his time as a Collegedale police officer, a department with a track record of pursuits up to five times as many as Chattanooga's during the same period.
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Matt Lea cited the open investigation and declined to comment.
Long's latest pursuit, which took place on Aug. 22, started when he and other deputies tried to stop of white Jeep Grand Cherokee for failing to stay in its lane in the 2900 block of Corral Road, court records state.
Less than a minute later, according to 911 radio traffic cited in Hutson's arrest affidavit, the deputies said the vehicle was "running," so they gave chase.
According to the sheriff's office pursuit policy, "All sheriffs' deputies are to understand that it is not the intent of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to unduly place in jeopardy the deputy, citizen, or property due to a traffic violation or misdemeanor offense which are not a threat to public safety."
"Failure to maintain lane" is a Class C misdemeanor offense.
The deputies nevertheless continued with the pursuit. They say they saw the driver throw "something out of the window" after the pursuit had continued for two miles on a curvy road just before 10 p.m., court records state.
By the time the deputies and Hutson made it to Sawyer Pike near Hixson Springs Road, authorities say Hutson was driving "all over the roadway" at 70 mph in a 35 mph zone and sometimes on the wrong side of the road, according to court records.
The deputies say there was no visible civilian traffic on the road, though it was dark and the roads, which are atop Signal Mountain and have sharp curves in multiple areas.
As the pursuit neared the 8200 block of Hixson Springs Road, Hutson crashed his Jeep into a curve, court records say. His vehicle was positioned just ahead of the deputies' vehicles.
A few seconds later, a deputy was heard telling 911 dispatchers that Hutson "tried to run over that deputy," according to the arrest affidavit.
Hutson had allegedly accelerated backward toward Long, who had just exited his patrol vehicle to approach the crash. Hutson reportedly nearly struck Long and was continuing toward the other deputy who was still in his patrol vehicle. That deputy has not been identified.
In that moment, Long shot Hutson at least twice, court records state.
The Jeep then came to a stop partially off the road, and Hutson was taken to a local hospital for treatment of the gunshot wounds. He has since been released and booked into the Hamilton County Jail where he faces several charges, including attempted first-degree murder, evading arrest and failure to maintain lane.
In Long's last pursuit, a similar narrative was provided.
In that case, Long tried to stop the vehicle for a light law violation on June 9, but "the driver's actions immediately became reckless," the sheriff's office said in a news release, and "violently struck" Long's open driver's side door as he was exiting.
Long then shot at the suspect, though the suspect was not struck. He was placed on administrative leave for 13 days before returning to duty on Aug. 22. Exactly one month later, Long shot Hutson.
Before the June 9 pursuit, Long tried to stop 29-year-old Tyler Hays. The initial reason for the stop has not been disclosed.
Hays fled, and the incident ended with Long fatally shooting Hays in the back.
Long was back on duty within five days.
According to the sheriff's office pursuit policy, high speed pursuits should take place when a serious offense has been committed or suspected to have been committed. "Serious offenses" do not include property crimes and "are to be limited to: murder, rape, robbery, serious assault, any offense involving the discharge or impending use of a deadly weapon against a person, any verifiable kidnapping incident or incident involving the taking of a hostage, arson, aggravated burglary and domestic violence."
Long's version of events has been questioned in the past.
In the Collegedale case in which Long was accused of pulling a man into oncoming traffic, his account of what took place during the traffic stop, according to his incident report, did not match what was seen in dash and body camera footage.
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