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Chased and Tased: Maryville man charged with leading officers on high-speed chase in stolen Mustang, ramming their vehicles

Michael Ruggiero, 37, faces multiple counts of aggravated assault on a first responder.
Credit: KCSO
Michael Ruggiero

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The mugshot gives you some idea of the kind of day Michael Ruggiero had.

Knox County authorities chased him, used their Tasers and hit him in the gut Monday afternoon to try to subdue him after they say he stole a 2013 Ford Mustang and then sent them on a wild mid-afternoon car chase.

Ruggiero, 37, of Maryville faces multiple counts of aggravated assault on a first responder as well as a count of theft over $10,000.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, Knox County authorities were alerted about the theft of the Mustang from a Weigel's on East Emory Road, according to records.

When a deputy spotted the car and turned on his equipment to try to get Ruggiero to stop, Ruggiero began swerving through traffic at speeds of 90 mph and driving on the shoulder and on the wrong side of the road, charges state. When officers tried to box him in on Oak Ridge Highway, he swerved at a deputy, records state.

The Mustang then turned onto Ridgedale Road, which is a dead-end road. Other officers joined the pursuit on Ridgedale, records state, including a Knox County lieutenant and detectives.

They tried to box Ruggiero in, "but (Ruggiero) began ramming their vehicles as well as almost striking (a detective), who was on foot..." a warrant states.

Officers broke the passenger side window. Deputy Robert Simpson fired his Taser into Ruggiero's right abdomen and right chest, but the move didn't stop him. Ruggiero got out and started fighting with officers. Another officer fired his Taser, which also proved ineffective, records state.

Officers also used a Taser in a "drive stun" maneuver against Ruggiero's skin for "pain compliance," but he kept resisting, records state. Simpson reported striking him several times in the abdomen to get him to cooperate.

Ruggiero finally settled down, records state. He'd suffered injuries fighting the officers. He first was taken to the county detention facility, but medical staff refused to accept him because he appeared to have a dislocated knee.

He was then taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. Ruggiero was booked into the jail Tuesday.

The victim's Mustang was towed to Clinton Highway Wrecker Service.

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