KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County deputies were led on a high-speed pursuit of a stolen vehicle that ended with a Maryville man facing several counts of assault on first responders and evading arrest.
After a Mustang GT was stolen from a gas station on East Emory Road just before 4 p.m. on Monday, deputies observed the stolen vehicle turning onto Clinton Highway from West Emory Road and began a pursuit. Officials say the driver, identified as 37-year-old Michael Ruggiero, disregarded emergency signals to pull over and led them on a chase with speeds reaching in excess of 90 miles per hour.
Deputies say Ruggiero swerved in between vehicles at high speeds, drove on the shoulder and over curbs as well as on the wrong side of the road. The driver attempted to ram deputy cruisers who attempted to box them in on Oak Ridge Highway.
The suspect turned onto Ridgedale Road and drove through someone’s yard after arriving at a dead end. The driver again began to ram law enforcement vehicles attempting to box him in, nearly striking a detective who was on foot.
Attempts to use a taser on the suspect were ineffective. The suspect exited the vehicle and began fighting with officers attempting to apprehend him.
Deputies reported punching the suspect several times in the abdomen while attempting to get him to comply. The arrestee sustained several injuries while fighting and resisting officers. He was transported to UT Medical Center after medical staff at Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility refused to accept him due to a possible dislocated knee.
Ruggiero faces five counts of aggravated assault on a first responder, one count of theft of property between $10,000-$60,000, one count of felony evading arrest in a vehicle and one count of resisting arrest. He is scheduled to appear in Knox County Criminal Court on Thursday, Aug. 5 for a bond hearing.