It was quite the day for police officers in a small North Carolina town who spent much of their afternoon in pursuit of a local delinquent who was dangerously cruising through streets on a stolen John Deere tractor.
According to a Boone PD Facebook post, the whole ordeal began on Jan. 17 when Mr. Ronnie Hicks, someone the department is “very familiar with,” began terrorizing residents after he lifted the heavy machinery.
“We received a call about the tractor being driven erratically in a parking lot trying to hit pedestrians and did in fact hit a vehicle off 421 on the east side of town. He actually hit several vehicles, a dumpster, and a church,” reads the post. “We are still trying to sort it all out.”
Officers arrived on the scene, but their presence didn’t concern Hicks. Instead of standing down, he “intentionally” drove off “toward on-coming traffic.”
The post shared that the officers used stop sticks to no avail. And the angry thief continued his rampage by embarking on a low-speed chase. Hicks “intentionally rammed a Boone Police vehicle” and jeopardized the safety of everyone on the road.
Police Finally Stopped the John Deere by Shooting out its Tires
Police became even more concerned when the driver took a sharp turn toward an Elementary School. At that point, Chief Andy Le Beau decided he would take extreme measures to stop him from endangering children. Once Hicks drove into an isolated area, Le Beau gave one officer the go-ahead to pull his gun and shoot out the tractor’s tires.
“Our officers tried to use stop sticks. But because it’s a tractor, the stop sticks were not effective on the back tires,” Le Beau told the Watauga Democrat. “When he got outside of town into an area that didn’t have any homes or businesses, we did shoot one of the tractor tires in an effort to get the vehicle stopped.”
Mr. Hicks was able to continue for about a mile without the use of a front tire. But after turning down a private drive, he lost control of the John Deere and ran off the road.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. When Hicks lost his getaway vehicle, he began “wielding a knife.” That caused an officer to bring him down with a taser. After that, the assailant was finally in custody. Fortunately, no one was injured in the chase.
“I would like to thank our officers for putting themselves in harm’s way to protect our community,” Le Beau noted in the post. “We were assisted by the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. We will put out a more detailed press release to the media as soon as we can.”