Sheriff: Man attempts to run over off-duty reserve deputy in Covington

Sheriff: Man attempts to run over off-duty reserve deputy in Covington
Christopher Townsend. Source: St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A Covington man is behind bars after authorities said he attempted to run over an off-duty St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's reserve deputy following a hit-and-run incident Wednesday afternoon.

The reserve deputy was driving his personal pickup truck and was stopped on Penn Mill Road at the intersection of U.S. Highway 190 near Covington shortly before 2:30 p.m.

According to the report, the deputy saw a white 2009 Pontiac G6 driving westbound on U.S. 190. As the Pontiac approached the intersection at Penn Mill Road, the driver, Christopher Townsend, struck the officer's truck before swerving back onto the highway and continuing westbound on U.S. 190.

The reserve officer followed Townsend and called 911 to request marked units.

According to the report, Townsend continued to drive erratically on U.S. 190, before turning northbound onto Louisiana Highway 1077.

Authorities said Townsend turned into a subdivision and made a U-turn.

The reserve deputy exited his truck, identified himself as law enforcement, and ordered him to stop.

Townsend did not obey the deputy's commands to stop and instead accelerated his vehicle in the direction of where the off-duty reserve deputy was standing, in an apparent attempt to run over the deputy, according to the news release issued by the sheriff.

Fearing for his safety, the reserve deputy discharged his off-duty weapon at the suspect in an attempt to prevent him from hitting the deputy with the vehicle.

According to the report, the deputy was able to avoid being struck by the vehicle, which continued southbound on La. 1077.

Covington Police Department arrived on scene and were able to apprehend Townsend after his vehicle was disabled southbound on La. 1077 due to damage sustained in the initial hit-and-run crash.

Townsend failed a field sobriety test given on scene, but refused to submit to a breathalyzer, according to the report. Blood was drawn and will be sent for analysis.

No one was injured in the incident.

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