Driver surrenders after leading Lee County sheriff's deputies on - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

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Driver surrenders after leading Lee County sheriff's deputies on a chase

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SMITHS STATION, Ala. - A Salem man is uninjured and in custody after a Lee County police chase ended with sheriff's deputies opening firing on the fleeing vehicle, the Lee County Sheriff's Officer confirms Sunday evening in a news release.

At 2:02p et / 1:02p ct, Michael Ruda is accused of stealing a maroon 2011 Toyota Tundra SR5 pickup truck from outside Frank's One Stop store, according to police. The driver left the engine running as he went inside the store, which is located at the intersection of Lee Road 379 and Lee Road 249 just north of the flea market in Smiths Station.

Within 11 minutes, a deputy from the Lee County Sheriff's Officer located the stolen vehicle  on Goat Rock Road (which is also known as Lee Road 318). As the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, Ruda drove off, according to the news release. Ruda, 41, is accused of leading authorities on a chase as he drove on to US 280.

Ruda brought the stolen vehicle to a stop after authorities created a roadblock on US 280 near Jones Road (Lee Road 298) in Smiths Station.

"As deputies on foot approached the vehicle to take the suspect in to custody, [Ruda] attempted to drive off placing deputies in danger," the news release reads.

Deputies fired several shots at the vehicle, the release says.

"The suspect then got out of the vehicle and surrendered," according to the release.

Ruda, who was out on probation following a 2012 conviction on charges of burglary and theft, has now been charged with Theft of Property 1st degree and numerous traffic violations. Additional charges are possible, the sheriff's department says.

The Opelika Police Department is conducting a separate investigation in to the shooting to examine the circumstances regarding officers discharging their weapons.

The vehicle theft and chase remain under investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's Department.


James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

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