Durant police are still piecing together Monday’s bizarre incident in which a man sped down Main Street, struck several cars and a building, and fled on foot only to be tackled by an officer.
The sequence of events – adding up to less than five minutes – took place in front of dozens of witnesses in the downtown area and left five people injured.
The Democrat has learned that one of those injured was Durant Police Officer Wes Crank. He suffered numerous injuries, mainly lacerations, during a struggle with the suspect in a restaurant parking lot on North First Avenue.
Formal charges have yet to be filed against Michael Shane Avery, the 29-year-old suspect. But he was booked into Bryan County Jail on suspicion of eluding a police officer, leaving the scene of an accident, felony DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. He also has a suspended driver’s license and three warrants out of Marshall County.
Durant Police Lt. Brad Nelson spoke about the incident: He said police received a call of a disturbance and just missed contacting Avery at that call.
“The suspect had just left, but the guy was trying to break into a house,” Nelson said.
Officers started to search for Avery’s Pontiac Grand Am, which was spotted downtown.
“He sees the officer and he floors it,” Nelson said. “He was going 85-90 mph when he hit the tracks.”
A pursuing officer barely had time to make a U-turn and initiate a traffic stop before Avery allegedly sped away, striking two cars and losing control. His car struck the side of Rustin Concrete offices on East Main Street, causing minor injuries to two people inside.
Despite his own injuries, including a facial laceration which required staples, Avery got out of his car, found a way out of the office building and fled on foot. Crank and a swarm of other officers, at least one with a police dog, pursued him and he was arrested.
“This individual has been in prison and he knew he was headed back,” Nelson said.
He added that the suspect is believed to have been under the influence of methamphetamine.
Besides Crank and Avery, the two Rustin Concrete employees and a motorist suffered minor injuries and are expected to recover. Crank was treated and released. Repairs are underway at the damaged office.