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Man in stolen tractor leads police on hours-long chase, hitting a dumpster and a church: ‘What a day’

A North Carolina man sent police officers on a wild goose chase Tuesday morning, igniting a police chase in a stolen John Deere tractor, and portions of the incident went viral on social media.

“What a day… So, many of you have heard, or have seen the videos, that we got in a pursuit with a tractor,” police chief Andy Le Beau wrote on Facebook.

Journalist Jeremy Markovich tweeted the video on Tuesday, noting that the Boone police chase “topped out at 20 miles per hour.” 

“There was a police chase this morning in Boone involving a John Deere tractor that lasted for more than an hour and topped out at 20 mph and YES THERE IS VIDEO,” he wrote Tuesday. 

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Officers were alerted to a tractor driving “erratically” in a local parking lot, according to local affiliate WBTV. The driver of the tractor “hit several vehicles, a dumpster and a church,” according to the local police department. 

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“We are still trying to sort it all out,” Le Beau wrote on Facebook.

The chase lasted several miles over the course of about one hour. When the driver, who was swerving into oncoming traffic, was headed near a local school, police officers knew they needed to act quickly. 

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The officers used stop sticks, but when those proved ineffective, shot the tire of the tractor.

“After a few miles of driving without a front tire Mr. Hicks turned onto a private drive and ran out of road,” the police department said on Facebook.

The driver, Ronnie Hicks, exited the tractor wielding a knife, and subsequently was tasted by a police officer, and subsequently taken into custody. No officers or Hicks were injured in the encounter. 

Officers from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol also assisted Boone police in the chase. An investigation into the incident remains ongoing. 

Markovich, who tweeted the video of the incident, credited Tim Buckley, WFMY News 2 Chief Meteorologist, for sending him the story. The video, originally posted by Mark Denny Jr., has more than 248,000 views on TikTok. 

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