New Details Emerge About Deadly Big Rig Chase, SWAT Officers Placed on Leave
Allen County, OH – Authorities have released new disturbing details about the 2-hour big rig chase that ended in a display of lethal force on Tuesday morning along U.S. 30.
According to Allen County Sheriff Matthew Treglia, Spencerville Police officers attempted to stop a semi-truck at approximately 8:11 a.m. on Tuesday in Spencerville due to a reported “criminal complaint.”
A representative of GLM Transport in Van Wert, Ohio reported the semi-truck had been stolen, Treglia said in a newly released statement.
The driver of the truck has been identified as Terry Pierce, Jr., 46, from Spencerville.
Treglia said Pierce was not an employee of the trucking company and investigators have yet to determine what motivated Pierce to steal the truck.
Pierce refused to stop and led police from multiple agencies, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, on a 2-hour pursuit.
On Wednesday, Treglia offered more details about what happened during the course of the chase and what led to the decision to end the pursuit by firing on the semi-truck.
In an interview with local news outlet LimaOhio.com, Treglia once again indicated authorities made numerous attempts to stop the vehicle including negotiating with Pierce over the phone.
Treglia revealed Pierce called 9-1-1 during the pursuit and he was patched through to negotiators.
“I can honestly tell you, this guy had bad intentions of hurting citizens in Allen County, and there was no way I was going to let that happen. He was not going to get himself into a village or municipality with that truck because of things he was saying on the phone to our hostage negotiators. He repeatedly threatened to kill and run over people,” Treglia said.
Police deployed stop sticks along the westbound lanes of U.S. 30.
When that attempt failed to disable the truck, officers began shooting the remaining tires, but it still didn’t bring the semi to a stop.
Treglia said Pierce’s actions further increased danger to the public when he pulled the truck into the eastbound lanes while still traveling westbound.
“He (Pierce) dictated what had to end this as far as his rationale and pulling into ongoing traffic on U.S. 30. He kept escalating the situation to the point where we had no opportunity but to do anything else at that point,” Treglia explained to the local online outlet.
The decision was then made to open fire on the semi-truck after Pierce was deemed to be an “imminent threat to the safety of citizens.”
Treglia said officers including the Allen County SWAT team opened fire.
Pierce was “eventually struck” and the truck came to rest at approximately 10:04 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of travel near the intersection of U.S. 30 and Feasby Wisener Road in Van Wert County, according to Treglia.
“There’s not any one person that makes that call (to open fire). I, 100%, stand behind these officers and this administration for the way this was handled,” Treglia said.
An investigation of the incident is being conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.
Once the findings are revealed, Treglia said a Van Wert county grand jury will determine if any charges should be brought against the officers involved.
The SWAT officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
New video from the chase has also been released.
WATCH it below courtesy of Rick McCoy of Van Wert.
As for Pierce, he was previously charged with an array of offenses going back as far as 1991.
In July 2018, he was charged with domestic violence.
In August of 1991, he was charged with assault.
He also had various traffic violations, including driving under suspension, according to Lima Municipal Court records.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to bring you new updates in the ongoing investigation.