After about two miles, several of the vehicles between us had turned off. There were only two cars separating me and the stolen car. I got a glimpse of the tag in a curve and saw that it was the same one that I had run. The two cars between us then turned off and I was now behind the stolen X-Terra. I keyed up the police radio and gave the dispatcher my location and told her that I was behind a stolen vehicle and requested backup units. My intention was to just keep following them until I got a few more police cars with me and then conduct a felony traffic stop.
The driver of the X-Terra then made a sudden left turn into a shopping center. There was a grocery store and several restaurants there. The parking lot was packed. I followed the vehicle into the shopping center and updated the dispatcher on my location. This could be good or bad. With the parking lot as full of cars as it was, the perp may have just trapped himself. That turned out to be wishful thinking on my part. In the parking lot, the stolen car turned left and accelerated towards the back of the shopping center where there was another exit. I activated my blue lights and prepared to stop the car. I did not want to do this by myself, but I knew that my closest backup unit was still several minutes away.
As it turned out, there was another police car in the parking lot. The Dacula City Marshal, Marshal Steve, was there helping a citizen that had locked their keys in their car. He was on the same radio frequency as us and had heard my radio traffic. Marshal Steve had retired from our agency a couple of years earlier as a Major. He had found retirement to be a bit boring and he was enjoying his job with the City of Dacula.
As I activated my blue lights, Marshal Steve pulled in front of the stolen vehicle blocking the lane. I stopped about ten feet behind it and had just gotten out of the police car. The X-Terra had stopped between the two police cars. I drew my pistol and yelled at the driver to turn off his vehicle. I saw the backup lights come on and the stolen car’s tires squealed and smoked as it started quickly backing up towards me. I dove back into the police car, holstering my pistol. The X-Terra slammed into the front of my cruiser and actually came up on the hood. The X-Terra sits fairly high off the ground so the amount of actual damage to the police car was not as bad as it would have been if it had been a vehicle lower to the ground. The driver of the stolen car then jerked the steering wheel to the right and accelerated. At the same time, the passenger door came open and a teenage girl came diving out of the X-Terra. The stolen car then cut through the only opening available, between two parked cars, and then sped towards the other side of the parking lot and another exit. I found out later that Marshal Steve had grabbed the girl that had jumped out of the stolen car and taken her into custody. That turned out to be a very important decision.
I advised the dispatcher that the stolen car had rammed me and I was in a vehicle pursuit. Our pursuit policy does not allow us to chase someone just because they are in a stolen car. Because the subject had deliberately rammed my police car, however, I now had an Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer charge. I could now chase him until we caught him. As it turned out, it was a fairly short chase.