by Jan Allred
A Florala man is in the Covington County Jail facing attempted murder charges after he allegedly shot at Florala Police Department police officer while attempting to flee a traffic stop.
Michael “Red” Thames, age 34, of Florala was charged with the attempted murder of a police officer aand shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said the incident occurred on December 27, 2008, after Florala Police Department Officer John Davis attempted to stop a Chevrolet Z71 due to the driver spinning his tires. After Davis activated his blue lights and attempted to pull Thames over, the chase was on.
According to Bedsole, the chase began in Florala but quickly led out of Florala onto Still Pond Road in Lockhart, where Thames allegedly attempted to end the pursuit by firing at the FPD cruiser and officer pursuing him. After the shot was fired, Davis continued to pursue Thames down County Road 4 (the Wing Highway) and Race Track Road.
Davis ultimately terminated the pursuit in Florida after losing site of Thames’ vehicle. Davis ended the pursuit and returned to the Florala Police Department where the car was examined and a mark on the windshield was found confirming something had struck the windshield.
On Sunday, the police cruiser was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery, AL where it was examined FPD OFFICER SHOT AT Thames charged with attempted murder Michael “Red” Thames by technicians. According to Bedsole, tests conducted by technicians showed lead fragments were embedded in the windshield.
Thames went to the police department Sunday morning and was issued the initial traffic citation intended for him Saturday night, along with a multitude of traffic citations resulting from the pursuit, said Bedsole.
The Florala Police Department obtained a felony warrant on Monday for Thames based on the information provided by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Bedsole said Thames apologized to Davis for fleeing, explaining that he thought he was an Alabama State Trooper and he owed several hundred dollars in fines and court costs.
In Thames’ statement, he admitted to fleeing and also admitted that he had a six pack of beer in the vehicle when he fled. However, Bedsole said at this point in time, they don’t believe alcohol was a factor in Thames’ decision to flee.
Bedsole set up a meeting between he, Thames and agents with the 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force. At that meeting, Thames was taken into custody on the charges of attempted murder of a police officer and shooting into an occupied vehicle. He was booked into the Covington County Jail in Andalusia under a $300,000 bond.
Bedsole said the Florala Police Department will handle the Thames case professionally and with respect but he wanted it understood that public safety is the number one concern and goal of the department. He also said the department
would not tolerate anybody firing a weapon at police officers or other citizens in Florala.
Bedsole thanked the various departments that assisted in the case and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. The case is being investigated by the Florala Police Department, Drug Task Force Agents, Andalusia Police Department
and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.