Jeffersontown Police, KSP end pursuit of stolen semi-cab - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Arrest ends rush-hour pursuit of stolen semi-cab

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A Louisville EMS medic escorts police pursuit suspect Erik Atwell, 44, to an ambulance after the chase ended Friday on I-64 West near Blankenbaker Parkway. Beth Peak/WDRB News. A Louisville EMS medic escorts police pursuit suspect Erik Atwell, 44, to an ambulance after the chase ended Friday on I-64 West near Blankenbaker Parkway. Beth Peak/WDRB News.

JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville man will answer to numerous charges after police from three agencies say he led them on a one-hour pursuit through two counties during afternoon rush hour Friday.

Jeffersontown officers arrested Erik Atwell, 44, just after 4 p.m. off the right shoulder of I-64 West near Blankenbaker Parkway. They say he was driving a truck reported stolen Thursday from a farm near Oxmoor Center.

Atwell's apprehension marked the end of an hour Friday afternoon that included a police pursuit -- and what officers say was Atwell's attempt to strike two police cars during the chase.

Police said it reached speeds of 70 miles an hour, before he stopped along the highway.

"He then fled his truck on foot, and our officers then were in foot pursuit. One of our officers tackled him, and the other officers were right there with him and were able to take him into custody," said Jeffersontown police chief Rick Sanders.

EMS treated Atwell for a bloody nose, Sanders said. He was to be booked in Metro Corrections Friday night with a possible court appearance Saturday morning.

Police responded after the owner of the truck spotted it, followed it and called 911 for help, Sanders said.

Officers from Metro Police, Jeffersontown and Kentucky State Police responded at various times on a path from the Watterson near Oxmoor Center to I-71, to the Gene Snyder, to I-64, to Blankenbaker Parkway and other J-town streets, then to I-64 and Simpsonville and finally, I-64 West just before the Blankenbaker exit.

"My officers did a great job of maintaining a safe distance. They continued with the pursuit but they were able to just follow him until he either ran out of gas or decided he wasn't going to get away or pulled over," Sanders said.

Sanders said Erik Atwell's charges will include receiving stolen property, attempting to flee or evade police, resisting arrest and wanton endangerment.

No police officers or motorists were hurt. The chase did snarl traffic, particularly on I-64 both directions near Blankenbaker Parkway and the Gene Snyder Freeway. Drivers slowed to yield for the chase and multiple police vehicles following the truck, then later made way for EMS. One driver apparently looking at the activity rear-ended a pickup truck on I-64 East near the Snyder about 4:30 p.m.

"We are always concerned with this kind of activity. We don't want anybody to get hurt, yet we want to catch a felon who not only has stolen a truck but has attempted to run over two police officers," Sanders said.

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