A woman was arrested on charges of stealing a bucket truck Friday morning and slowly fleeing from police for about 40 miles through Fayette County and Madison County.
Fayette County jail records identified the woman as Vanessa A. Napier, 32. She is charged with first- and second-degree wanton endangerment, driving under the influence, first-degree robbery, first-degree fleeing or evading police, first-degree criminal mischief and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Napier is being held at the Fayette County jail on a $21,500 full cash bond. Arraignment is scheduled for Monday.
The pursuit began when she allegedly assaulted the owner of the truck at about 10 a.m., hopped in and began to drive away, dragging the owner about 50 feet down the road, said Kentucky State Police Trooper Mark Johnson. The man was injured and was treated at the scene.
Police said Napier drove south on Interstate 75 into Madison County, where Richmond police found her and began pursuing. She then turned around and drove back to Fayette County, where Lexington police joined in the pursuit.
Police threw down several stop sticks, also known as spike strips, in an attempt to stop her, but the strips did not stop the vehicle.
The truck continued down I-75 north to Exit 115 (Newtown Pike) with four flat rear tires; turned onto Manchester Road and onto Old Frankfort Pike, then turned onto Alexandria Drive. Police then followed the truck from Alexandria Drive as it turned right onto Leestown Road into oncoming traffic lanes, Kentucky State Police said.
The tire rims left a trail of scratched pavement as the truck crashed into a police cruiser at a road block on West Main Street.
"It's one of the strangest pursuits I've ever been involved in," said Johnson, who has been in law enforcement for 18 years and has been in multiple car chases. "It was very dangerous for other drivers. Speed wasn't so much a factor, but just the sheer size and weight of the vehicle."
The truck did not hit other cars, but the woman's erratic driving forced others off the road, Johnson said.
"The goal was to stop her before she hit downtown," Johnson said.
Johnson said the woman likely did not know the owner of the truck.