Linden traffic stop leads to chase, ends in collision

The 1992 Chevrolet C1500 driven by James B. Roberts led officers on a 20-plus-mile chase late Saturday night before Linden Police Chief Scott McClure struck the vehicle to end the pursuit.

The 1992 Chevrolet C1500 driven by James B. Roberts led officers on a 20-plus-mile chase late Saturday night before Linden Police Chief Scott McClure struck the vehicle to end the pursuit.

LINDEN — A routine traffic stop Saturday night turned into a chase that led law enforcement through two municipalities over a 20-plus-mile stretch before finally coming to an end.

The incident started when Linden Police Department officer Keith Hood attempted to pull over James B. Roberts near the intersection of U.S. Highway 43 and Cahaba Avenue.

“He was all over the road, swerving around. So they were going to check him out for possible DUI,” Linden Police Chief Scott McClure said. “He initiated the stop around Highway 43 and the nursing home. When (the officer) turned his lights on, he took off.”

After his initial attempt to flee, Roberts turned his 1992 Chevrolet C1500 left onto Highway 28 and headed eastbound toward Thomaston.

At that point, McClure went to his LPD vehicle and headed to join the chase.

“In the time it took me to get my vehicle, they had left Linden and went to Thomaston,” McClure said. “The Thomaston police chief had set up a road block. (Roberts) went around it, got in the ditch and turned and went back toward Linden.”

As Roberts headed back toward Linden, McClure had laid spike strips in the roadway in an effort to disable his vehicle. Roberts would never encounter the deterrent as he changed direction toward his own neighborhood in the Brooks Drive area.

Roberts Truck 5Before the chase came to an abrupt end, Roberts had drawn the pursuit of three Linden patrol cars, two Marengo County Sheriff’s Deputy cars and one Thomaston Police Department car.

“He had went through his yard and two neighbors’ yards,” McClure said of Roberts’ attempts to evade police while on Brooks Drive.

As Roberts approached the nearby S-Curve, McClure decided to end the pursuit. The Linden Police Chief brought the incident to a climax when he rammed his 2001 Ford Expedition into Roberts’ vehicle, disabling it on impact.

“I made my mind up that he wasn’t coming back into my town,” McClure said. “They chased him over 20 miles. That was my deciding factor. He had done been in and out of ditches and in and out of yards. Both vehicles were probably running about 20 or 30 miles an hour in a little neighborhood S-curve. As law enforcement, we hate to have to end something like that. But sometimes it has to be that way.”

Linden Police Chief Scott McClure's 2001 Ford Expedition shows minimal damage following it collision with a suspect's vehicle Sunday morning.

Linden Police Chief Scott McClure’s 2001 Ford Expedition shows minimal damage following it collision with a suspect’s vehicle Sunday morning.

Roberts then exited his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot before being apprehended by law enforcement.

“He bailed out of the car and ran on foot and wound up getting Tazed,” McClure said.

Officer took Roberts into custody at approximately 12:30 a.m. No injuries were sustained in the incident.

Hood and McClure along with LPD officers Richard Varner and Lt. Robert Alston were involved in the chase along with Marengo County Sheriff’s Department deputies Don Lewis and Kenny Collier and Thomaston Police Chief Heath McClure.

“I think my department did an excellent job in their communication with everybody. I think they handled themselves very professionally,” Scott McClure said. “I want to thank the sheriff’s department and the Thomaston Police Department for their efforts in helping us subdue him without anybody getting hurt. I’m grateful that throughout the whole thing, nobody was injured.”

Roberts is charged with Reckless Endangerment, Attempting to Elude Police, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Reckless Driving, two stop sign violations and driving on the wrong side of the road.

LPD Truck 5