One of the occupants of a pickup truck that roared into a power pole on the Trenton town square is loaded into an ambulance on Tuesday afternoon.
Editor's Note: Sgt. Payne later corrected his original account, included below, to specify that only one woman, the driver depicted above, was in the vehicle that led police on a high-speed chase through the county and seriously injured a Dade law officer.
Details are still sketchy from an anguished sheriff's office after a high-speed chase through Dade County ended this afternoon in a crash on the Trenton downtown square--and grave injury to one distinguished Dade lawman.
Sgt. Chad Payne, information officer for the Sheriff's Department, confirmed that Maj. Tommy Bradford, head of the patrol division at the Dade County Sheriff's Department, had been struck during a chase that started in Fort Payne, Ala., reportedly after a burglary or attempted burglary.
(Photo: File shot of Maj. Bradford)
Dade deputies, alerted around 2:15 p.m. today by DeKalb County (Ala.) officers of their pursuit north on Highway 11 of the suspect truck, had joined in the chase at the south end of the county in Rising Fawn. Bradford, meanwhile, responded from Trenton and went south to lay spikes on Highway 11--a method police use to stop this sort of chase--near South Cedar Lane. He was so engaged when the speeding suspect vehicle struck him.
Sgt. Payne confirmed colloquial reports that Bradford's injuries included the loss of one leg below the knee. He said the officer had been airlifted to Erlanger, was still in "very critical condition," and would be in surgery shortly if he hadn't already been taken in. He promised to keep the public posted as to Bradford's condition.
Officers reported the suspect vehicle, a white pickup truck, attained speeds over 100 miles per hour during the chase. After Bradford was struck, some lawmen stopped to help him but the suspect truck sped on toward the square, some two or three miles further north. In pursuit--or in any case on the scene shortly after the culminating crash--were the original DeKalb County (Ala.) police, Dade County Sheriff's deputies, Georgia State Patrol troopers and Trenton Police Department officers.
The chase ended on the southeast side of the Trenton square as a Dade Sheriff's deputy forced the truck off the road and into a utility pole. Power flickered off and back on downtown and as far south as Ingle's Market at the junction of 136 West.
The Planet observed one of the truck's occupants, a woman, being loaded into an ambulance at the town square for transport to the hospital. Sgt. Payne said there were actually two occupants, a man and a woman, and that he believed the man had also been transported. Police are not yet releasing their names, he said.
Highway 11 was closed off at South Cedar, and southbound traffic rerouted through Trenton, shortly after Bradford's accident there.
Again, Sgt. Payne promises a fuller report as details become available, and will duly report on Maj. Bradford's condition as he learns more.