On Tuesday morning, a bizarre police pursuit in Boone, North Carolina, went viral. The culprit was Ronnie Hicks, who was driving a stolen John Deere tractor and blasting the Dukes of Hazzard theme song as he was chased by eight cop cars.
The pursuit began when police received a call about a man wielding a knife and driving the tractor erratically, trying to hit pedestrians. Hicks managed to elude police for several hours despite the efforts of multiple officers and stop sticks, reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
Footage of the pursuit, which showed Hicks plowing through red lights and stop signs and swerving past oncoming traffic, quickly went viral on social media. The tractor, which has an average price tag between $10,000 and $30,000, was seen rushing through red lights during the pursuit.
There was a police chase this morning in Boone involving a John Deere tractor that lasted for more than an hour and topped out at 20 mph and YES THERE IS VIDEO https://t.co/IFZxSZNR2i pic.twitter.com/GAIlzEkfvP
— Jeremy Markovich (@deftlyinane) January 17, 2023
Chief Andy Le Beau ordered his officers to shoot the tractor’s wheels, but Hicks, determined to escape, continued the chase for a few more miles, despite losing a tire. Eventually, Hicks ran out of road, and jumped off the tractor, wielding a knife. An officer then used a taser to apprehend him without injury to either party.
Le Beau said, “We did attempt to use stop sticks, but they were not terribly effective on the tractor. Our officers were concerned for the welfare of our citizens as Hicks was intentionally driving the tractor toward on-coming traffic”
“Hicks also intentionally rammed a Boone Police vehicle [and] once he turned onto Old 421, we were next concerned about Parkway Elementary and were determined not to let him get that far. When the tractor was in an isolated area, one of our officers shot the tires of the tractor (with my authorization) since the spike strips were ineffective,” Le Beau said.
Hicks has been taken into custody, and his charges are yet to be announced.