Local News

August 20, 2013

Veteran officer praised for actions

With a trail of law enforcement officers behind him and a fleeing robbery suspect in front, a veteran Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy helped end a high speed chase Saturday night that had started in Chattanooga.

Training officer Deputy Adrian Gomez got in on the chase on Interstate 75 near the Rocky Face exit as responders tailed 36-year-old Antonio Sheffield of Gulfport, Miss. Officials said Sheffield had assaulted a Chattanooga police officer, stolen a patrol car with a prisoner in the back seat and was heading south down I-75 at speeds that at times reached 120 mph.

Sheffield eventually left the interstate at Exit 328 near Carpets of Dalton, plowed through a fence near Rooms to Go, and took off down North Dug Gap Road with Gomez in pursuit, officials said.

Sheffield drove straight toward a dead end on North Dug Gap Road and as he saw the road giving out he “slung his car around to come back south,” said sheriff’s office Capt. Rick Swiney. Gomez maneuvered his own car to box in the stolen vehicle, and Sheffield intentionally rammed the patrol car as Gomez was about to get out, Swiney said.

At about that time — around 7:30 p.m. — Sheffield shot himself in the head, committing suicide, officials said.

Gomez was off work and not immediately available for comment on Monday, but Swiney said Gomez “does a good job” and handled the situation well.

“For what happened, it went very smooth and was handled very professionally from all agencies involved,” Swiney said.

Officials said Sheffield robbed a nail salon on Brainerd Road in Chattanooga at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and hit a Chattanooga police officer on the head and stole a patrol car with a man suspected of participating in the robbery still in the back seat. Chattanooga police on Monday said they later determined the man in the back seat was not involved in the robbery.

Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Nathan Hartwig said Sheffield drove around the Brainerd Road area as officers pursued him. Sheffield turned on East Brainerd Road where he got on the interstate. Hartwig would not discuss what techniques were used to try to stop Sheffield, and said he couldn’t say how many officers were involved in the chase.

The pursuit eventually went down into Catoosa County and into Whitfield. Three Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies were involved in the chase, Swiney said, including one who was waiting with stop sticks to try to puncture the fleeing car’s tires just south of Exit 328 where Sheffield left the interstate.

Swiney said he believes Sheffield may have seen the blue lights just ahead of him and decided to exit for that reason. A Whitfield County driver’s vehicle was apparently hit during the chase as Sheffield exited the interstate, but there were no injuries and the vehicle was still driveable, officials said.

Swiney said deputies earlier in the evening put out stop sticks near the Tibbs Bridge overpass in Dalton, but investigators aren’t sure if they worked. They believe the stolen police car hit the stop sticks since it had a flat tire when it halted, but Swiney said it’s also possible the tire damage came from Sheffield running the vehicle through the fence when he exited the interstate.

No officers were hurt during the chase, and the man in the back seat likewise wasn’t hurt, officials said.

“We may take some different things from this and look at training, but we’re already trained in pursuit driving, and the officers followed their training in this and did a good job,” Swiney said.

The Georgia State Patrol was also heavily involved in the chase. State patrol officials with firsthand knowledge of what happened weren’t immediately available on Monday.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014

  • Two charged with tampering with evidence in drug investigation

    Two people have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the synthetic marijuana bust in February involving a Dalton business owner.

    July 30, 2014