‘I was gonna T-bone him’: Tractor driver helps end police chase
UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WSOC) - A long and dramatic police chase in North Carolina ended after police corralled the suspect into a tight spot with the help of a man on a tractor.
Buzz Palmer was tilling his garden using his tractor Wednesday when a police chase came roaring down his gravel driveway.
“I knew when he came by that fence, we had a problem. That many police cars aren’t getting a donut truck or a ticket violator,” Palmer said.
The retired law enforcement diver threw his 17-year-old orange Kabota tractor into high gear and parked across the driveway to block the car from getting past him.
“I was gonna T-bone him. I put it in high gear, got my RPMs up and turned facing that way to block this, where he wasn’t coming through,” Palmer said.
The driver was able to maneuver around Palmer, so he chased after the car.
“Once he passed here, he was trapped. There’s no other way out. There’s nothing he could do but go back out, and I knew they were all behind me. I just had to rodeo him up to keep him going,” Palmer said.
Without anywhere else to go, the driver crashed through a fence into a pasture filled with goats and eventually drove into a pond.
Deputies swarmed in and arrested the driver, 48-year-old Ward Baxter Weiland, on several charges, including felony speeding to elude and driving while impaired. They also arrested a male passenger, 62-year-old Armond Dewayne Douglas, on outstanding charges unrelated to the pursuit.
A female passenger was released and does not face charges.
As for Palmer, he says stopping the driver was just the right thing to do.
“He needed to be taken off the road,” Palmer said. “I had equipment, which was my tractor, and I had opportunity since he was coming at me. So, it was that simple. If everybody stood up and did what they had to do, life would be a lot easier. Sometimes you just gotta step in.”
Police say the chase began after the driver failed to stop for officers who tried to pull him over because the vehicle had a stolen tag.
There were no injuries in the incident.
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