Atmore chief hurt in wreck

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

By By ADAM PRESTRIDGE – Special to The Standard
Atmore Police Department chief Jason Dean was sore Tuesday, but thankful no innocent bystanders were injured following a head-on collision during a high-speed chase Monday morning.
Arterio Lamar Lewis, 31, of Bay Minette has been charged with assault on a peace officer, a class two felony, after he drove his 1980 Pontiac head-on into Dean's police cruiser at the intersection of Highway 31 and Trammell Street during a police pursuit. Atmore officer Robby Williams, who was pursuing Lewis, smashed his cruiser into the rear end of Lewis' vehicle after it's abrupt crash.
Dean, a 17-year veteran of the Atmore Police Department, did not receive any major injuries. He drove himself to Atmore Community Hospital after Alabama State Troopers from Evergreen arrived on the scene and made a report.
Police officers put their lives at risk each day they wake up and go to work. Dean said serving and protecting Atmore is &#8220just part of the job.”
At the scene of the accident, Atmore Public Safety director Glenn Carlee said the APD received a call at 8:20 a.m. complaining that Lewis was traveling at a high rate of speed, swerving and driving on the wrong side of the road putting other motorists in danger. Motorists stated that Lewis was near Dyas Creek just south of Hickey's in Baldwin County when the initial call came in.
When APD officers attempted to pull Lewis over near the Atmore County Club, he continued driving with no regard to the officers.
Atmore resident Sharon Coffman, who witnessed the collision first hand as she sat at the red light at the intersection, said Dean saved her life.
Coffman, who was on her way to Atmore City Hall to get a permit for construction of a workshop at her home, said the incident was surreal.
Dean said his actions Monday were all in a days work. He has always been a hands-on chief and will continue doing so.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Lewis was being held in the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton on a $5,000 bond.

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