BY DAVID FISHER
MARTIN (August 6) — Multiple agencies continue to investigate an incident from an apparent pursuit out of Kentucky into Tennessee that resulted in an accident and reported shots fired at the scene on an on-ramp off of Hwy. 45 near Weakley County Motors in Martin late Thursday morning.
At approximately 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, August 6, the Fulton County dispatcher notified Weakley County 911 that Kentucky State Police were in pursuit of a 2020 Chevrolet Malibu with unknown Florida tags. A multi-agency BOLO was issued for the vehicle and suspect.
The driver allegedly assaulted a police officer in Illinois.
Kentucky police reported the vehicle was heading south into Fulton, Kentucky, on the Purchase Parkway, then, turned around and headed north on the Purchase Parkway. Next, the driver was reported traveling south on Highway 45 toward Martin.
Kentucky State Police continued pursuit with the driver traveling at speeds of 120 miles per hour.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol were aware of the situation and had a trooper in the area. A video of the incident shows the driver continuing to attempt to leave the on-ramp after he was surrounded by law enforcement personnel. Officers attempted to slow the vehicle by ramming it with a truck, before the suspect attempted to drive away. Officers opened fire on the vehicle.
The suspect is identified as Dante Kaulkner, 40, of Holly Springs, Mississippi. District Attorney General Tommy Thomas said deputies with various sheriff’s departments in Kentucky opened fire on the vehicle, shooting 18 rounds. He said those on the scene and passersby were lucky no one, including the suspect, was shot during the incident.
Weakley County Sheriff’s deputies and Martin Police officers responded to the scene after the incident on the highway ramp. Thomas said Kentucky law enforcement officers didn’t notify the local sheriff’s department or the Martin Police Department when the chase led to Weakley County.
Martin Fire Department was dispatched for mutual assistance and quickly arrived on the scene near Weakley County Motors in Martin.
Emergency medical services were also dispatched to the scene at THP’s request. Members of the Martin Fire/EMS/Rescue, along with Weakley County Ambulance Service members, administered medical aid at the scene, loaded Kaulkner into an ambulance and met the medivac on the four-lane highway for further transport.
Air Evac landed at the scene at approximately 12:21 p.m.
No one other than the suspect, was injured.
Kaulkner was airlifted from the scene by Air Evac Lifeteam after he reportedly cut a wrist and his neck at the scene. Thomas said he was transported to The Med in Memphis, where he underwent surgery as a result of the cut to his wrist. He is recovering and under the supervision of the Memphis Police Department.
The incident stemmed from a traffic stop in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, when a vehicle occupied by two subjects was pulled over and a K-9 alerted to the vehicle. While a police officer and the driver were outside the vehicle, Kaulkner, who was possibly armed, got in the driver’s seat and drove off. As he drove away, he allegedly pushed an officer out of the vehicle and resulting in a charge of aggravated assault of a police officer.
The Fulton County dispatcher notified local law enforcement officials the vehicle struck one of their officers head-on and requested Weakley County EMS to travel toward Obion County on Highway 45, according to the Weakley County 911 call log from the incident.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation was notified to shut down the on- and off-ramps at the intersection of Highway 45 and the Highway 22 Bypass.
Thomas said there was 10 pounds of what is believed to be marijuana in the trunk of the vehicle. Faulkner faces a charge of possession of marijuana in Weakley County.
This remains an active and ongoing investigation, as THP works to gather any and all relevant interviews and evidence. THP’s investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General throughout the process for his consideration and review.
BY DAVID FISHER