Teen Leads Officers On Wild Chase That Ends In Ditch Off South Broad Street

Friday, December 20, 2013 - by Hollie Webb
Sawyer Clanton
Sawyer Clanton

An early morning police chase ended when a young Georgia man crashed into a news vehicle and a concrete picnic table, went through a chain link fence, and finally hit a metal gate in the News Channel 12 parking lot.

According to police, 19-year-old Sawyer Clanton had tried to shoplift $1501.98 worth of merchandise from the Walmart on Cummings Highway. He tried to get a shopping cart out of the store containing 9 Xbox controllers, 22 Playstation controllers, a 12 pack of Bud Light beer, and a plastic container. However, Walmart manager Olaf Darbouze saw Clanton and stopped him.

Mr. Darbouze said Clanton fled the scene in a white Honda Accord before police arrived. According to police, Officer Douglas Rawson spotted Clanton’s car and turned on his police lights. However, he said Clanton immediately sped up and tried to get away.

Police said they followed Clanton until he ran a red light on Broad Street and turned into the News Channel 12 parking lot. There, they blocked the entrance.

When police ordered him to stop, they said Clanton acted as if he were going to run through the fence and hit two officers with his car. He slammed on the brakes at the last minute and started driving in circles around the parking lot until he hit a News Channel 12 Ford Escape.

This did not stop him. Police said after hitting the vehicle, he then drove into a concrete picnic table and another fence. After hitting the fence, he found himself in the lot of Chattem Chemicals. He drove around this lot as well, continuing to evade police. To escape, police said he rammed a metal fence. They said he headed toward West 33rd Street, but ran into a ditch.

After he crashed, he tried to escape on foot into a wooded area. Officer Phillip McCall tackled Clanton, but he said Clanton grabbed his hand and tried to break his finger, so Officer Rawson had to taze him. Finally, Clanton surrendered and police took him to Erlanger Hospital to be medically cleared.

Clanton now faces charges including two counts of aggravated assault on police, one count of simple assault on police, one count of vandalism over $500, one count of vandalism over $10,000, evading arrest, and running a red light. From the incident at Walmart, he has been charged with theft over $1,000.  

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