A small sport utility vehicle shot out of the convenience store
parking lot just as Howard and his patrol car were passing by. The
sheriff's sergeant fell in behind the sport vehicle and was checking the
license tag by radio when the guy suddenly took off.
The chase went on for about 10 miles until the sport utility turned
down a gravel road. Howard knew it was a dead-end road leading to the
lakefront. Once the fleeing driver realized his mistake he had already
worked his way into a maze of bushes, trees and large rocks. The driver
stopped. Howard got out of his patrol car and was considering his
approach to the driver.
Suddenly, the sport utility started up again, heading straight toward
Howard. As close as the charging rogue vehicle was, Howard had no time
to dive for cover. He drew his SIG/Sauer 9mm pistol and fired a single
shot. Instantly the sport utility swerved and then rolled into a nearby
tree. The driver jumped out and took off running.
Meanwhile, unknown to Howard, a nearby resident had heard the
disturbance, called the sheriff's department and grabbed his own service
pistol. Did I mention that the guy who called the sheriff was an
off-duty deputy sheriff with Howard's department?
The shift lieutenant was nearby and arrived moments later to help with
the search for the fleeing driver. One of the deputies heard a rustle in
the bushes and called out for the bad guy to surrender.
Instead, the perp ran to the end of a boat dock and leaped into the
lake. The TV weatherman had said at 11 o'clock that the outside
temperature was 42 degrees.
The deputies shined powerful flashlights on the guy in the lake. He'd
dive and swim away from the spotlight. Another light would pick him up
and again he'd dive and swim away into the darkness. That little game
proved tiring, especially when conditions were so right for hypothermia.
Eventually, Mother Nature won out and the guy surrendered. After
deputies helped him warm up, he was booked into the county jail. That's
when officers learned he had not held up the convenience store. The fact
that his blood-alcohol level was .28 explained his actions. The law says
you're officially drunk with a .10.
A word about Howard's magic bullet — the one that stopped the charging
sport utility: The 9mm bullet struck the vehicle's front fender near the
hood, cut one of the battery cables completely in half, and made final
impact on the electrical box on the fire wall. Powerless, the vehicle
rolled to a dead stop.
Deputies still ask Howard if he actually "aimed for the battery
cable." Howard just smiles and says, "No comment."