CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A wild chase in a stolen Jeep ends with a felony takedown in a Cheatham County field.
The pursuit began Tuesday afternoon when investigators were alerted to a stolen Jeep Gladiator near Joelton. They tell News 2 that the upscale 4×4 was stolen in Dickson. The vehicle had a tracking device, which the owner used to relay positions to the cops.
With the aid of that vehicle’s tracking device, Pleasant View police officers and Cheatham County deputies got behind the Jeep and attempted to stop it.
The driver, later identified as 26-year-old Matthew Wray, refused to stop and eventually drove off the road and into a field. Investigators then gave chase.
Dashcam showed high speeds through the cut corn field, as the Jeep fish tailed slightly and bounced, spewing up mud and dirt.
Soon, the Jeep was back on the roadway, passing cars and speeding dangerously away. It was about this time that Cheatham County Sergeant Brandt Holt readied spike strips.
Sgt. Holt got into position behind his cruiser, and when the speeding jeep roared through, he yanked the tire-deflating spikes under the Jeep, getting the two front tires.
Lieutenant Ken Miller, who has been injured deploying spike strips, said what his fellow deputy did was highly-skilled and also potentially very dangerous.
“Yes sir. You got to have the location, the skill and the patience of when to do it or you could possibly get a civilian vehicle. And you are in very close proximity. We have had a couple of fatalities in Middle Tennessee deploying spike strips.”
Thanks to Sgt. Holt, chase speeds quickly dropped from 85 miles per hour to just over 30 miles per hour. You can hear chasing deputies yell into their microphones, “Tires coming off!”
With the front tires shredding badly, Wray made a desperate move and once again headed off road into another field.
Dashcam showed multiple deputies in hot pursuit.
Wray stopped, and within seconds half a dozen officers and deputies with guns out rush the Jeep. Wray comes out with his hands up and is taken into custody.
At the same moment, passenger 24-year-old Courtney Madewell is also secured. So, too, is a backseat passenger who will not be charged.
Officers found a gun on the floorboard. Deputies said the gun is believed to be stolen.
Investigators said Madewell was carrying methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.
“This is turning into something much bigger than just a simple traffic stop,” said Lt. Miller.
Lt. Miller said officers from Dickson to Cheatham County to other jurisdictions are now interested in talking to the alleged Jeep thieves about a multitude of other crimes in other counties.
In Cheatham County alone, Wray was charged with evading arrest, two counts of reckless endangerment, and felon in possession of a firearm.