A 29-year-old man from the Trout Creek area has been charged following an incident in Newton County. According to Sheriff Billy Rowles, 29-year-old Michael Land, Jr. is accused of stealing a Newton County Sheriff’s Department patrol SUV and later slamming head-on into a Newton Police Department patrol car.
Land is charged with attempt to take weapon from officer, and Chief Deputy Cynthia Hall says more charges are expected to be filed. Land's bond amount was not available as of Thursday.
According to Sheriff Rowles, it happened at about 2:00 Tuesday morning when one of his deputies stopped a vehicle near the Newton County Courthouse. Rowles said “The driver refused to respond to deputies. A scuffle ensued and the subject entered the deputy’s unit and left headed south on Hwy 87”.
Rowles said the Newton Police Department fell in pursuit of the stolen sheriff’s department SUV and they traveled about 12 miles south of Newton on Highway 87 when the suspect turned around and rammed head-on into the Newton police car.
According to Rowles, the suspect then ran on foot into a wooded area where he was captured, and then taken to Jasper Memorial Hospital where he was seen and released, and then transported to the Newton County Jail.
As for the officer, Rowles said “A Newton PD officer was life flighted to the hospital where he was treated for head injuries.”
Meanwhile, Newton County Deputy Landon Cargill is disputing the official statement from his boss, Sheriff Billy Rowles. Cargill said "I didn’t fight the driver of this vehicle he was a passenger and refused to be detained. A foot pursuit followed by me catching him and I fought him alone for about 15-20 seconds before another officer that was off duty assisted me. This guy attempted to grab my duty pistol and after this officer and I could still not gain control I request that officer to let him go so I can deploy my taser. Taser had absolutely no effect on the male and kept running and entered the driver’s seat of my patrol car where he then drove off at a high rate of speed. Suspect was eventually in custody and transported to JMH were we found out the he was under the influence of both meth and PCP (Which explains why he felt no pain from the taser)."
Cargill went on to say "It has since then been explained better".