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Wright Charged with Kidnapping following Car Incident where Girl Leaps to Safety

Child leaping from car.

Wright Charged with Kidnapping following Car Incident where Girl Leaps to Safety

Chattanooga, April 11, 2024

Antonio Wright Faces Kidnapping and Other Charges

Antonio Wright, 50, has been hit with charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, and vandalism by Chattanooga Police in a distressing case that began with an early morning pursuit after a girl courageously leaped out of a moving vehicle.

Wright was earlier detained by the county on charges of felony evading arrest, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

Chase after a Report of Gunshots

The series of unfortunate events unfolded at approximately 1:30 a.m., with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the Chattanooga Police Department being dispatched to a reported shooting incident in an apartment near the 6800 block of Spence Lane. Upon arrival, they spotted a silver Chevrolet Malibu leaving the complex and heading south on Highway 58.

Deputies followed the vehicle while awaiting further information from dispatchers regarding the call. While following the vehicle, witnesses reported a juvenile female jumped out from the passenger door while the car was still in motion. The girl rolled several times before coming to a halt on the side of the roadway. The vehicle then sped off at high speed.

High-Speed Pursuit Ensues

Deputies immediately attempted to stop the vehicle, sparking a high-speed chase. Despite successfully deploying spike strips near the 4400 block of Highway 58, the suspect continued to evade capture, even after losing control twice on South Access Road, and claimed to have only just managed to evade them. At one point, the vehicle smashed into a Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle.

The suspect carried on fleeing with a flat tire to the section of Riverpark near Chickamauga Dam. Deputies employed PIT maneuvers to try and end the pursuit but were unsuccessful. The vehicle eventually ran off the side of the roadway and crashed into a block wall. Deputies managed to box the suspect in with patrol vehicles.

Deputies Wrestle to Apprehend Wright

Despite initially ignoring the commands of the deputies and being seen reaching around the vehicle, the suspect was eventually taken into custody. During the stand-off, non-lethal bean bag rounds were deployed to break the windows and pepper spray were released, although the suspect proved resistant.

“Last night while many of us were sleeping, your Sheriff’s Office responded to a violent incident and was involved in a pursuit that would eventually leave one very brave young woman jumping from a moving vehicle while deputies relentlessly pursued her captor,” commended Sheriff Austin Garrett.

An Attempted Burglary, not a Shooting

Contrary to initial reports, it was later established that the initial call was not related to a shooting but an alleged intruder at the apartment. As the event happened within the city of Chattanooga, Wright was handed over to the Chattanooga Police Department for further investigation into the Spence Lane incident.

Shortly after the incident, Hamilton County EMS arrived to the scene to check on the girl who had jumped from the vehicle. Chattanooga Police stated, “Prior to CPD’s arrival, another law enforcement agency initiated a pursuit. It was reported while in the pursuit, the juvenile victim escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle.”

The girl was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. Further investigations into the incident are ongoing.

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