Deputy stops to help man, then was attacked and patrol car stolen

Published: Jul. 2, 2012 at 9:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM EDT
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RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - A routine call for assistance over the weekend sent one Russell County deputy to the hospital after a supposed victim stole his patrol car.

A Russell County deputy was responding to a call for an injured man on Highway 431. When the deputy got out to help the man, that's when the victim turned into the suspect.

Jatavis Brown, 24, was cooling off in the back of the patrol car and suddenly attacked the deputy who was helping him.

"The guy jumps up, pushes the deputy, jumps in the driver seat of the patrol car," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

After a struggle in the front of the car, Sheriff Taylor said Brown got the upper hand in the fight.

"The deputy was bit, the suspect bit him on his arm," Sheriff Taylor said. "When he did, the deputy pulled back and at that point the man dropped the car into drive and took off. The deputy fell out of the car."

The deputy could have been left helpless on the side of the road, but then an unforeseen hero emerged.

"A civilian who had passed by seconds after that and had seen it up ahead actually stopped and the deputy jumped in his truck and they pursued our vehicle down 431," explained Sheriff Heath Taylor.

The deputy and the driver chased Brown down the highway until, "he wrecked out on the side of the road, hit a ditch, caused extensive damage to the car. Luckily he did not hit anybody else, but caused extensive damage to the patrol car. Then he ran on foot into the woods."

The Russell County deputy was able to catch Brown and put him back into a patrol car, but this time he wasn't behind the wheel.

Jatavis Brown is charged with theft of property, assault, attempting to elude, and resisting arrest.

The deputy was treated for his bite wound and other injuries and released from the hospital.

Sheriff Taylor said an investigation into the case revealed Brown's family said he was acting irrational and had actually tried to take another car earlier in the day. He will undergo a mental evaluation and is being held in the Russell County Jail.

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