Tennessee officer killed while chasing suspect on highway

Published 9:28 am Thursday, January 2, 2020

HENDERSONVILLE (AP) — A police officer in Tennessee was fatally hit by a car while chasing a suspect across a highway on foot, authorities say.

Hendersonville police Officer Spencer Bristol, 31, died Monday night from injuries sustained in the Interstate 65 crash, news outlets reported.

“It’s been nearly 20 years since this department lost an officer in the line of duty, and this was too soon for it too happen again,” police Chief Mickey Miller told reporters at a news conference late that night.

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Bristol, a Navy veteran, was driving after a fleeing car that subsequently crashed, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The driver of the fleeing vehicle, 19-year-old Kevin Jordan, was arrested while the passenger, 26-year-old Rodney Farmer, fled on foot with Bristol in pursuit. Bristol was hit by oncoming traffic as he chased Farmer across the highway, an agency spokesman said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

A trooper later spotted Farmer at a Hooters and tried to arrest him, but Farmer fought the trooper off and fled, according to state authorities. The trooper soon saw Farmer emerging from a drainage culvert and arrested him, authorities said.

Charges pending against Jordan in Sumner County include felony evading and other related offenses. Farmer faces charges of criminal responsibility for felony evading and reckless endangerment. Farmer already was wanted on four outstanding warrants on aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, evading arrest in a motor vehicle and driving on a revoked license, the police chief said.

An investigation is ongoing. It’s unclear if either of the men have lawyers.

Bristol is survived by his wife, 3-year-old daughter and parents, the police chief said.