NPS Digest is reporting that stop sticks were used on Newfound Gap Road to stop a man fleeing from rangers last week.
Last Wednesday morning, November 2nd, supervisory park ranger Bobby Fleming contacted a man in a parked vehicle in the Chimneys Picnic area. While talking to the man, Fleming saw drug paraphernalia in plain view and ordered the man out of his vehicle. He refused to do so, and instead, sped away at a high rate of speed. A pursuit ensued down Newfound Gap Road and north towards park headquarters and the Sugarland Visitor Center.
Gatlinburg PD officers and district ranger Steve Kloster joined the chase. Kloster placed stop sticks on the highway just south of the Little River Road – New Found Gap Road intersection. The man swerved onto the shoulder, but the stop sticks still caught and flattened his left front and rear tires, which began to shred. He continued driving on the rims for another mile before stopping. After being taken into custody without incident, several charges were filed against the man. Others charges are pending.
For several years, the park has prepositioned stop sticks at its three main entrances. In 2011 the park purchased more of them for patrol vehicles and ranger stations. In this incident the stop sticks were critical in ending the pursuit quickly without a motor vehicle accident or injuries to anyone involved.