|Teen gets 15 years for pursuit that hurt local deputy
Jeremy Styron news-herald.net
A Knoxville man was sentenced to serve at least 15 years in federal prison stemming from a high-speed pursuit last summer in the city of Loudon, in which a deputy with Loudon County Sheriff’s Office was injured.
Rufus Lamar Ragland, 19, pled guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and will face a prison term “not less than” 15 years because of his status as an armed career criminal, according to the plea agreement in U.S. District Court. The arrangement also includes a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release up to five years and a mandatory assessment of $100.
Ragland still faces multiple state charges, and the case will be prosecuted by the Ninth Judicial District Attorney General’s Office.
“I think I can safely say that I’m pleased with that plea,” Sheriff Tim Guider said. “Now that I know that the state is still proceeding with their (case). Otherwise, my deputy’s life is more important than the 15 years, but now that I know that all that is pending, I’m OK with the federal plea.”
On Aug. 22, 2014, police were led on a chase through the city of Loudon after receiving a call of a stolen 2015 black Chevrolet Tahoe traveling along Interstate 75 south toward the border with Monroe County.
According to court documents, OnStar alerted officials with Loudon County E-911 that the sport utility vehicle had been stolen from Enterprise Rental in Knoxville. In pursuit by police, Ragland left the interstate and traveled to an area near the Shell gas station in the city of Loudon. The vehicle was disabled by OnStar as it continued through the Shall gas station on Highway 72 and into the Weigel’s parking lot.
Ragland then jumped into an older model black Chevrolet Tahoe that was parked at the gas pump, as LCSO Sgt. Michael Watkins pulled his vehicle in front of Ragland in an attempt to stop the driver, according Loudon Police Det. Brian Jenkins. Ragland struck the side of the patrol vehicle as Watkins was attempting to get out of the car.
The defendant then “drove directly at officers,” as police proceeded to open fire. The defendant’s vehicle hit and injured Deputy J.C. Schultz, who was later taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center and treated for a concussion and laceration on his head.
Guider said Schultz, 45, underwent hip replacement surgery a few weeks ago to mitigate a nagging injury related to the incident. “He’s still out with that,” Guider said. “He came back to work for a little while, but he just never was 100 percent, and so they had second opinions and his hip was deteriorating, so he was able to get that surgery done.”
He said Schultz “looked good” after the surgery.
“I just spoke with him a couple of days ago, and he said he was feeling much better, and he feels like hopefully this will work. You can even tell he’s moving around better than he was,” he said.