The following press release has been issued by Clay County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
In the early afternoon hours of March 21, 2019, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a stolen U-Haul truck. Later that afternoon, Clay County dispatch center received a report of a U-Haul truck in the Shooting Creek Community that matched the description of the one that was reported stolen earlier in the day. Deputies initiated a traffic stop on the U-Haul on Highway 64 East at the Shooting Creek Market. Before it came to a complete stop in the parking lot, it immediately left and continued west on Hwy 64 at a high rate of speed. Deputies pursued the vehicle down Highway 64 and onto Old Highway 64 East where it sped through a construction zone. It continued towards Highway 175 and eventually turned onto Elf School Road. The stolen U-Haul turned around in a field at the end of Patterson Road and traveled back out Elf School Road.
Fearing the U-Haul would go back into the construction zone and strike pedestrians, a deputy was blocking a portion of Elf School Road. The U-Haul then accelerated directly into the path of the deputy who was out of his vehicle. The deputy fired his service weapon at the U-Haul. The U-Haul turned into a field and the driver attempted to run from deputies on foot but was taken into custody. The female passenger was flown to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment and was released a short time later. During the pursuit the U-Haul struck two patrol cars, one of which was totaled, and almost ran over pedestrians in the construction zone.
The NC State Bureau of Investigation was immediately notified and responded to the scene.
Michael Paul Ledford, 36 of Murphy NC was charged with Driving While License Revoked, Reckless Driving to Endanger, Reckless Driving With Wanton Disregard, 2 counts of Injury to Personal Property, Felony Flee/Elude Arrest, Felony Possession of Stolen Motor Vehicle, and 5 counts of Assault With a Deadly Weapon With Intent to Kill. Ledford was given a $350,000 secured bond and a court date of April 4, 2019.
Ledford also had active warrants for arrest out of Cherokee County for Resisting Public Officer, Felony Break and Enter, Larceny After Break and Enter, Injury to Real Property, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was given a secured bond of $8,500 on those charges and a court date of April 2, 2019.
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