Teenager accused of auto theft jumps off 20-foot parking garage to escape police

Around the South

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Police in Tennessee caught a teenager Thursday evening and charged him with stealing a pickup truck. Investigators said the 19-year-old is very lucky to be uninjured after throwing himself off a 20-foot parking garage.

The crime happened around 5 p.m. at the Belle Meade Galleria. Much of the drama was captured on dashcam.

Video showed 19-year-old Deontae Majors-Lawrence bail out of the driver’s seat, run to the railing at the rear of the parking structure, then hop over the rail, disappearing.

Deontae Majors-Lawrence
Deontae Majors-Lawrence (Source: Belle Meade Police)

Police estimated the drop was 20 feet. The area below the railing is rocky and jagged beside a creek.

“He is very fortunate he didn’t lose his life or become permanently disabled. He’s very lucky to be alive,” said Police Chief Tim Eads.

Minutes before, the pickup truck was flagged on one of the city’s many license plate recognition cameras as a stolen Ford F-150 out of Clarksville. Officers were on top of the call almost immediately.

Officer Keith Samol quickly got behind the fleeing truck. The pursuit was brief and not fast.

The chase ended when Majors-Lawrence pulled into the Belle Meade Galleria, which dead-ends at the rear of the parking garage on the upper level. An unknown man in the passenger seat bailed first, hopping the fence.

The man was followed by Majors-Lawrence. But as the teenage driver got out, he reached toward his waistband. That’s when Samol pulled his service weapon.

Investigators say Majors-Lawrence is very lucky to be uninjured after throwing himself off a 20-foot parking garage at Belle Meade Galleria (Source: Belle Meade Police)

“Get in the car! Stay in the car! I’ll shoot you,” Samol said.

“As he was exiting the vehicle, officer Samol did transmit that he was going for his waistband. He put out there was a possible gun. He didn’t see a gun. It is an action of a suspect if they are reaching for their waistband they could be armed, so he put that out,” said Eads.

Video showed that the officer very quickly re-holstered his gun, just in time to watch the two suspects make a daring jump for safety.

Thanks to assistance from Metro Police Air 1, Majors-Lawrence was found hiding nearby and was arrested by officers scouring the creek bank.

“We are glad that nobody was seriously hurt,” Eads said.

Majors-Lawrence is now behind bars charged with felony theft $10,000 to $60,000. He is also charged with resisting arrest, evading arrest, and having no license. He’s jailed on a $32,000 bond. He only suffered minor injuries and refused medical treatment before going to jail.

Police are also looking for his alleged accomplice in the passenger seat who got away.

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