ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A Houston man lands in jail after a dangerous rush-hour police chase along Interstate 12 in Slidell. St. Tammany Parish Deputy Zachary Bruno was on his way home after finishing up his twelve-hour shift when he was frantically flagged down by a woman who warned him about an approaching truck driving erratically. The woman says the driver of a truck was passing people on the shoulder, and running 18-wheelers off of the road.
Shortly thereafter, Deputy Bruno witnessed the Dodge Ram truck fly past the deputy on the shoulder of the road. Bruno started following him, beginning a police chase that lasted from Slidell to Lacombe. That's when the driver of the truck lost control, flipped several times, and landed in the tree line.
The driver, identified by deputies as 36-year-old Kelly Akins from Houston, Texas, miraculously didn't suffer any injuries. Deputies say he began running from the truck and they chased after him. When deputies caught up with him, they say Akins was holding a gun. Authorities say they were able to talk to Akins and convince him to give up peacefully.
"This incident could have turned tragic in so many different ways," says Sheriff Randy Smith. "Our deputies had to make a split second decision on whether or not to use deadly force. They used extreme discretion and were able to safely take this suspect into custody. We are thankful no one was hurt."
St. Tammany officials Akins was driving a truck that had been stolen out of Alabama. He was also in illegal possession of a firearm and multiple different types of drugs and paraphernalia.
Atkins was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail with the following charges: Aggravated Obstruction of a Highway, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Resisting an Officer, Illegal Carrying of Weapons, Possession of Stolen Property, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule I Narcotic, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule II Narcotic, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and several traffic related offenses.
As of Friday afternoon, a bond has yet to be set.