An alleged shoplifter struck a Berea police officer with a car door before being arrested and charged with attempted murder early Thursday, police said.
Darrell Landon Walton, 25, of Detroit was also charged with wanton endangerment and other offenses. Officer Eric Davidson, who was hit by an open car door, did not require medical attention, said Lt. Jake Reed, spokesman for Berea police.
Shortly before 1 a.m., officers were called to the Shell station on Peggy Flats Road, where a caller said two shoplifters had taken seven cartons of cigarettes valued at $377 and then left in a blue Jeep Cherokee.
Officer Davidson saw the vehicle and stopped it at the southbound entrance ramp at Exit 77 off Interstate 75. Davidson asked Walton to step out of the vehicle but he refused and put the Jeep in reverse, police said.
“The driver peeled the tires as he began to back up and struck the officer with the open door of the vehicle,” police said in a release. The vehicle then headed south on I-75 and a pursuit began.
Walton turned around at Exit 62 at Mount Vernon and headed back north into Madison County, police said. At that point, deputies with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Kentucky State Police troopers became involved in the pursuit.
A passenger in the vehicle began throwing the stolen cigarettes out of the window of the moving car, police said. During the pursuit, the driver intentionally swerved toward one of the officers, nearly striking him, the release said.
The pursuit ended near Exit 76 when Walton lost control of his vehicle and wrecked. The occupants of the vehicle ran on foot into a wooded area where they were eventually found.
Officers also arrested Deandre Tucker, 22, of Detroit. A 17-year-old juvenile was also found but was not charged. Walton was charged with several traffic offenses in addition to unlawful transaction with a minor, fleeing or evading police and theft by unlawful taking.
Walton had initially given his name to police as Ernest Powell Jr. But police said Thursday afternoon that further investigation revealed the name was false, and an additional charge was filed as a result.
Tucker was charged with theft by unlawful taking, fleeing or evading police, tampering with evidence and unlawful transaction with a minor.