Collegedale police chief placed on administrative leave after Jan. 2 police chase

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Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman is still on administrative leave pending an investigation into a police chase while in his personal vehicle, according to Bridgett Raper, Collegedale Police Department public information officer. 

The incident occured on  Jan. 2 after Officer Brian Desmond ran the license plate of Arthur Wright who was driving a Ford Expedition and pulling a black utility trailer on Ooltewah Ringgold Road. The reason for Wright’s background check was not stated by Desmond, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Wright turned his vehicle into the gas station on Little Debbie Parkway, and Desmond turned on his emergency blue lights. Wright then sped up, exited through the parking lot, ran a red light at the intersection of Apison Pike and Little Debbie Parkway and headed west towards Interstate 75, according to a police report filed by Desmond. 

Desmond reported that Wright crossed over the double yellow line into ongoing traffic and intentionally aimed at other vehicles head-on. Hickman was at that intersection when Wright ran the red light in his 2005 Toyota Tacoma with two other passengers — one of whom was a minor, according to the Chattanooga Time Free Press.  

After Wright crossed through opposite lanes, Desmond called off the pursuit. Wright continued onto I-75 with Hickman following, updating Desmond on their location. Desmond then updated dispatchers and asked for assistance from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, according to the report. 

Hickman followed Wright “at normal traffic speeds” and got in front of the vehicle. When Wright passed Hickman, he intentionally “rammed” Hickman’s trunk with the utility trailer, according to the report. Hickman’s vehicle was damaged on its left side and required a new tire. Hickman remained on scene and reported the collision. He and his two passengers were not injured, according to WRCB.

Despite hitting Hickman’s car, Wright continued and struck another vehicle before fleeing into the woods, according to the report. He was later approached by several Collegedale officers and  two Hamilton County Sheriff deputies and apprehended on Jan. 11, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press

After receiving information regarding the chase, Collegedale City Manager Ted Rogers placed Hickman on leave as a result of certain policies, according to WTVC. Due to Hickman’s position in the department, Rogers has requested that the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office assist with an internal affairs investigation. 

Hickman will remain on administrative leave as the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office assists with the internal affairs investigation, according to WTVC.“Right now, we have no comment,” Raper said, on behalf of the attorney on the case. The county is doing what amounts to an internal affairs investigation and it is not appropriate to comment until it is complete and reviewed by the City Manager.”

Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman testifies in the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Courts Building on Tuesday, Jan. 23 2018. Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Times Free Pres.

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