Manhunt continues for suspect that struck Opelika officer

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 8:39 PM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - The search continues for a Smiths Station man wanted for allegedly hitting an Opelika police officer with a car. While the search for the man is underway, the officer is recovering.

What started as a response to a non-life threatening call turned violent in a matter of moments.

”It’s not a good feeling,” said Shane Haley, Opelika police chief. “It’s one of those things, as police chief, that is always in the back of my mind.”

Opelika police chief Shane Healey says around 1 o’clock in afternoon on Wednesday, an officer responded to a call about a driver hitting a cart return at Kroger on Enterprise drive.

“They were not there but just a couple of minutes when the officer was struck and he fled the scene,” Healey added. “And then it was probably within 10 to 15 minutes.”

Healey says the call ended with 33-year-old Jarren Allen hitting an officer with a car.

According to police, Allen then drove off, ditching his car in the Auburn Industrial Park, near Exit 51. He then ran away, causing a manhunt. Allen was last seen in the woods on Exit 51 on I-85 North in Auburn.

Healey says the Auburn Police Department was quick in finding the ditched car.

This prompted a Blue Alert, something Chief Haley says is protocol when a suspect injures a police officer and is on the run.

“There is an opportunity for us to go through the statewide alert system to have a Blue Alert issued that puts out the suspect’s information - similar to an Amber Alert.

Along with the Blue Alert, Healey says the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency assisted in the search with one of their helicopters.

Unsuccessful in locating Allen, Healey says the department has turned the case over to the U.S. Marshalls to find the suspect.

“That’s their expertise,” Healey said. “That’s what they do for a living. So, we were able to turn all the information over to them. So, they are currently following up on leads.”

Healey says the officer was rushed to the hospital with several injuries.

Opelika police haven’t identified the officer, but they say he is recovering and expected to return to the department soon.

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