According to the LaFayette Police Department:
Christopher Michael Thornton, a 40-year-old black male, of Bales Ave. in Chattanooga was arrested at approximately 3 p.m. after fleeing authorities.
At 2:40 p.m. Department of Natural Resources ranger Tim Gilbreath approached a black Honda Accord that had loud music blaring while at the Kangaroo Gas Station on West Main Street in LaFayette.
Several women and children were in the parking lot at the time.
“Ranger Gilbreath went up to the vehicle and politely asked the occupant to turn the music down,” police captain Stacey Meeks said.
Thornton questioned the officer’s authority. Gilbreath then asked for Thornton’s identification and stated that he did have authority in the situation and the LaFayette Police Department would also be called to the scene.
Thornton grabbed the officer’s arm as Gilbreath reached to take the driver’s license that Thornton had in his hand. The driver then hit the accelerator and tried to flee, dragging Gilbreath through the gas station parking lot.
The officer managed to free himself and called in the vehicle description to other local authorities.
Gilbreath managed to begin the pursuit of the vehicle from a distance, but lost the suspect after a few turns.
The quick response by LaFayette police led to Thornton’s arrest 15-20 minutes after the incident.
His vehicle was located on Webb Wheeler Road and he was arrested without further incident.
Ranger Gilbreath charged Thornton with driving without a license on person, willful obstruction of law enforcement, aggravated assault, noise violation, fleeing police and reckless conduct.
Gilbreath sustained some shoulder pain from the encounter. He was examined by paramedics afterward, but did not require transportation to a hospital for his injury.
Several witnesses at the gas station gave statements to LPD officers that confirmed Thornton’s attempt to flee upon being directed by Gilbreath.