By JOSH NEWTON
What started as a possible case of “road rage” Thursday afternoon quickly escalated into a chase, several crashes, and a short police pursuit, authorities said.
Tahlequah police and 911 dispatchers received several calls when the incident began to play out near South Muskogee Avenue and Willis Road. According to Tahlequah Officer Randy Tanner, a white car driven by Scott Baggott, 58, sideswiped a truck on South Muskogee.
The driver of the truck began to chase down the white car, which traveled from the scene of the first incident to the Hastings Hospital area, then headed back down onto the State Highway 51 bypass and ended up on West Fourth Street. Tahlequah police who were on duty were tied up with other calls when witnesses first began reporting the situation.
Baggott and the truck that he struck eventually traveled to First Street and Muskogee, where Baggott made a U-turn and allegedly struck the truck again.Baggott then turned east on Fourth Street, causing at least one more crash with a vehicle that was unable to get out of the way before being struck, police said.
Tahlequah Police Detective Chris Boals was able to stop the truck, according to Tanner, just east of the Fourth Street Bridge.
Tanner arrived and stayed with the truck, and Boals tried to catch up to Baggott, who drove away.
Boals began a short pursuit with Baggott, and eventually stopped him near a mobile-home park off of the east bypass. Baggott was transported to a local hospital to be checked for injuries and to take a blood test, Tanner said.
Baggott’s car suffered serious damage and was impounded, and much of the truck that was involved in the incident was also damaged. A truck passenger who was seven months’ pregnant was checked by medics, but was released, along with the driver.
“They should have followed the car at a safe distance and called police,” said Tanner. “This made a bad situation a whole lot worse in a split second.”
Baggott was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center for driving under the influence, attempting to elude police, and leaving the scene of an injury crash.
Tahlequah police were assisted by several other law enforcement agencies while working the case Thursday afternoon.