Police release name of man accused of stealing two vehicles and leading police chase

LOUDON, Tenn. (WVLT) -- An East Tennessee community is still reeling after their weekend got off to a dangerous start.

Officials say charges are pending against Rufus Ragland after he allegedly stole a couple of cars and injured a deputy in a high speed chase.

"I still don't even know. I'm just kinda, It doesn't feel real," says a witness.

Hawk and a friend had just pulled up next door to the Weigel's on Highway 72 Friday evening.

"I heard the gunshot, and I got out at Wendy's and we were just standing there about to walk over there," the witness explains.

Police say Ragland had just abandoned a stolen SUV and stole another truck parked at the gas station. The suspect rammed a patrol car and took off through the woods as a deputy shot at the vehicle.

"By the time we got over there, they were taping everything off, and then we saw an officer take off in the direction of Matlock Bend," she says.

The corner of Matlock Bend and Highway 72 is where the chase ended. Loudon police say a THP trooper purposefully crashed into the truck Ragland was in, allowing them to finally catch him.

Samantha Melton lives near the crash scene and says it was a scary afternoon.

"My mom was right in the middle of it, so I can only know what was going through her head. Of course, I thought about my family and my fiance," she says.

Police say when they searched the stolen SUV, they found marijuana, crack cocaine, and a handgun with the serial number filed off.

"Lord, I just can't believe I was there. Just kinda, still have an adrenaline rush about it," Hawk says.

A deputy was taken to the hospital after he was hit. The Sheriff's Office says he's back home and he's in good spirits.


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