Suspect accused of trying to kill cop

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Texas man has been charged locally with attempted murder after police say he rammed his truck into a reserve sheriff's deputy's vehicle and then chased the officer's car down the interstate at speeds reaching 100 mph.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Reserve Deputy Ben Pyatt was parked at the 43-mile marker of Interstate 70, at around 12:05 a.m. Wednesday, when a truck, driven by Rodney J. Garrett Jr. of Natalia, Texas, passed his location. The truck's tail lights were not lit.

The officer began pursuing the Dodge 3500 truck, which was later determined to be stolen from Ohio, west on the interstate, however the driver initially refused to stop. According to the officer, Garrett then stopped the truck suddenly, causing the patrol car to nearly rear-end the truck. The officer was able to avoid the collision but slid past the truck.

At that point, the officer said he turned around in his seat and saw Garrett pull into the lane behind him and start accelerating at a high rate of speed toward his patrol car. The officer's car was struck from behind and pushed forward, at which point the officer accelerated in an attempt to get away from Garrett.

But Garrett continued to pursue the officer westbound on the interstate, according to the probable cause document, at speeds reaching 100 mph. The officer radioed for help and then exited the interstate at Ind. 243 while the suspect continued westbound and turned off his headlights, passing other vehicles in total darkness.

"Garrett had shut the lights off on his truck and was now traveling over 90 mph with no running lights on his vehicle," the officer wrote in his report.

Other sheriff's deputies and a Cloverdale Police unit joined the pursuit which eventually ended peacefully in Clay County.

Officer Pyatt had a chance to talk to Garrett after the incident and the man reportedly told him he had stolen the truck from a man in Dayton, Ohio. He told the officer he was sorry and asked him if he could give him a hug, according to the police report.

Garrett was being held Wednesday night in the Putnam County Jail, on a $30,000 cash only bond.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter charged Garrett with one count of attempted murder, a class A felony, along with one count of receiving stolen auto parts, a class D felony, and one count of resisting law enforcement, a class D felony.

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