Man Who Led Police on Chase on Lookout Mt. Sentenced
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a northeast Alabama man for illegal gun possession, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.
U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Dennis John Johnson, 43, to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Dennis John Johnson pled guilty in November 2018 to the federal charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a Smith & Wesson .40 Caliber semi-automatic pistol. According to the indictment Johnson had prior felony convictions of second-degree assault in Marshall County Circuit Court in November 1997, unlawful possession of a controlled substance in Etowah County Circuit Court in June 2001, and third-degree robbery in Marshall County Circuit Court in April 2014.
“Career criminals and illegal firearms are a dangerous combination,” Town said. “Anyone who endangers the lives of law enforcement and civilians trying to escape justice will be prosecuted vigorously.”
Johnson had the handgun with him when police arrested him on April 9 as he ran from a pickup truck he abandoned on Georgia Highway 48 in Chattooga County, Ga., according to a Fort Payne Police arrest report. Johnson jumped from the truck after fleeing police in Fort Payne and speeding away along U.S. Highway 11 to Hammondville. His flight took him onto Alabama Highway 117 and through Valley Head and Mentone before crossing the state line into Georgia, according to the arrest report.
Fort Payne officers had tried to pull over the pickup truck because the license plate was registered to a different vehicle, the police report said. In the ensuing chase, speeds topped 100 mph as Johnson ran vehicles off the narrow roads, swerved toward police vehicles and aimed his speeding truck at the Hammondville police chief, who was running across the road to deploy a stop strip. The first Fort Payne police vehicle in pursuit behind Johnson hit the stop strip and crashed, seriously injuring one Fort Payne officer, according to the police report.
ATF investigated the case in conjunction with the Fort Payne Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and the Chattooga County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan S. Keim prosecuted the case