By Adam Smith

The North Jefferson News

A Gardendale man suspected of hitting several vehicles in a reported attempt to avoid hospitalization Friday is currently in a mental health facility, according to Fultondale and Gardendale police officials.

Det. Polly Rodriguez of the Fultondale Police Department said on Friday, she met with family members of the suspect at a relative’s residence in an attempt to explain involuntary commitment procedures.

The suspect, whose name will not be published because he has not been charged with any crime, is reportedly mentally ill.

Rodriguez said that once the man arrived at the residence, he left and Rodriguez followed him. However, she said she lost him in traffic.

According to Det. Brian Odom of the Gardendale Police Department, the man was reportedly driving a Chevy Avalanche that he was test-driving from Edwards Chevrolet.

Odom said the man drove from U.S. 31 to Mt. Olive Road to Laurel Lane to Mockingbird Lane.

He said the man then drove down Kaywood Drive, where he allegedly struck a vehicle and left the scene.

Odom said the first calls came in to the Gardendale Police Department at about 1 p.m.

Odom said the driver then struck several vehicles on Payne Road. He said a resident on Payne Road actually discharged a firearm at the driver.

However, Odom said the resident, who is in the U.S. Army, would likely not face any charges and has left the state for a tour of duty in Iraq.

Odom said the man also hit at least one vehicle in the Wendy’s parking lot before getting back on U.S. 31 South and striking another vehicle.

The department later received word that the vehicle was parked at the 100 Oaks Trailer Park in Fultondale. Odom said by the time Gardendale officers arrived, the man was out on foot.

Fultondale and Gardendale officers then began a foot pursuit of the suspect who was spotted on a railroad bridge.

Odom said the man then entered a wooded area on the west side of the bridge, where he was apprehended about 45 minutes later.

Fultondale officers placed the man into custody and he was later admitted to a local hospital.

Rodriguez said that Fultondale does not have any charges pending against the man. “We did everything to make sure he gets some help and he’s getting that now,” she said.

Odom said that Gardendale does not currently have any charges pending and it will be up to the property owners to press charges.

He said despite the property damages, there were no injuries reported.

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