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Several bullets hit car, but suspect avoids getting shot
Chase - spike strips.jpg
Highway Patrolman Wade Myers picks up the spike strips he threw down on Beersheba Street to stop a car that had been fleeing from officers throughout the county Thursday afternoon.

A McMinnville man wanted for attempted rape led officers on a chase through much of the county Thursday afternoon before his vehicle was stopped by spike strips in the Mt. Leo area.

James Bell, 51, was being sought with an active warrant for attempted rape, but he will face many more charges after Thursday's incident.

Bell reportedly aimed his car and drove toward a Warren County deputy during the chase and the deputy responded by firing on the vehicle, a black Nissan rental car, and hitting it several times. The officer initially believed he shot Bell when he opened fire, but the suspect avoided being hit.

Bell was checked out at Saint Thomas River Park Hospital and released to be booked at Warren County Jail. According to Sheriff Tommy Myers, officers had been actively searching for Bell to serve the warrant.

"As one of our deputies was driving by an address he was known to live, he was seen coming out of the house," said Myers. "He managed to get to his car before we could get to him."

Officers with the Sheriff's Department, McMinnville Police Department and Highway Patrol all assisted in the chase which intensified on Shellsford Road near the bridge that's a popular spot for kayakers to enter the water.

That's when Bell drove toward an officer and his vehicle came under heavy fire. He managed to get away and head down Shellsford Road until its intersection with Highway 30, or Spencer Road.

He was on Highway 30 briefly before turning onto Sparta Highway and heading into McMinnville.

The chase barreled into the city past the VFW, Three Star Mall, and down Sparta Street. After making his way past the Rescue Squad at the underpass, Bell reportedly turned onto Durham Street which comes out on Beersheba Street.

He turned left onto Beersheba Street and ran over spike strips that had just been thrown down by Highway Patrolman Wade Myers. The spike strips were effective and caused Bell's car to veer to the left and go behind Dee's Tire Shop. It stopped just as it was about to go over an embankment.

Trooper Myers said he wasn't able to release the cable attached to the spike strips before Bell traveled over them and he suffered a hand injury when the cable was yanked from his hand.

Sheriff Myers said officers are still compiling information and determining what charges to level against Bell. Myers said a preliminary report reveals a gun and drugs were found in Bell's car. As a convicted felon, the sheriff noted Bell is prohibited from owning a firearm.