UPDATE: Arizona Police Open Fire on Trucker During “Dangerous” Pursuit
Flagstaff, AZ – Police opened fire on a trucker after he fled from a traffic stop in a tractor-trailer on I-40 near Flagstaff on Friday.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AzDPS), a fully-marked patrol vehicle stopped a commercial truck and trailer on I-40, just east of Flagstaff, on Friday at approximately 7:35 a.m.
The purpose of the stop was to conduct a vehicle inspection.
Prior to the traffic stop, the trooper said he observed the driver and front passenger suspiciously switch places with each other.
AzDPS says that during the inspection, a motorist alerted the trooper that one of the occupants of the commercial truck threw something into the median prior to the stop.
In a statement, AzDPS indicated “troopers later discovered a package filled with a powdery substance in the median.”
Also in the course of the inspection, as both the driver and passenger were standing outside of the big rig, AzDPS says “one of the occupants was able to get back into the cab of the truck.”
The driver, identified as 35-year-old Shadrick Junell Crowder, of Virginia, then fled the scene and a pursuit along I-40 ensued, officials said.
Investigators say troopers made numerous attempts to disable the rig by deploying stop sticks, but Crowder was able to successfully avoid them by navigating “through the median.”
The tension escalated further as Crowder “attempted to run into troopers in order to avoid apprehension,” according to AzDPS.
Even further, officials said the tractor-trailer drove across the median and “entered wrong-way westbound within the eastbound traffic lanes.”
Authorities deemed Crowder’s actions to be so “dangerous” that it “placed the lives of the motoring public and pursuing troopers in peril.”
The pursuit, which lasted approximately 2 miles, came to an end when a trooper opened fire on the big rig from the Walnut Canyon Road overpass.
AzDPS says Crowder was struck and the rig began to decelerate.
Before the tractor-trailer could come to a stop though, it struck another big rig with two occupants.
Both of the occupants of the second rig suffered only minor injuries, according to investigators.
No troopers were injured.
Crowder was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries.
Investigators have not yet detailed how many shots were fired or how many times Crowder was struck.
However, authorities say he is expected to recover.
He is being charged with attempted first-degree murder, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of narcotic drugs for sale, transportation of narcotic drugs for sale, unlawful flight, endangerment, aggravated assault, and conspiracy.
AzDPS says Crowder has a history of arrests in several states related to drugs, violent crimes and weapon violations.
The other occupant of the big rig, 55-year-old Robert Allen Owens Jr., also of Virginia, faces charges of possession of narcotic drugs, possession of narcotic drugs for sale, and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to monitor new developments in this case.