Dade Co. Sheriff gives update on injured deputy's condition, suspect's status

Laura Leeann Wooten. Images: Walker Co. Sheriff's Dept./WTVC

UPDATE (Wednesday 4:45 p.m.):

Dade County Magistrate Judge Joel McCormick says he traveled to Walker County Wednesday for the first appearance of Laura Wooten.

He says no bond was issued, and she will continue to be held in Walker County Jail.

Wooten's charges include:

  • Aggravated assault on a police officer
  • Aggravated battery
  • Hit and run
  • Serious injury by vehicle
  • Felony fleeing or attempting to elude
  • Theft by bringing stolen property into state
  • DUI drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Removing tag with intent to conceal identity of vehicle
  • No insurance
  • Driving within emergency lane/gore/median
  • Improper lane change/failure to maintain lane
  • Failure to register vehicle
  • Defective tires
  • Passing within 200 feet of oncoming traffic
  • Driving on wrong side of road
  • Improper passing in no passing zone
  • Failure to obey traffic control device
  • Seatbelt violation
  • Expired license plate
  • Driver to exercise due care

UPDATE (Wednesday at noon):

An emotional Sheriff Ray Cross provided an update at noon from the Dade County Commission building. He thanked the community and fellow law enforcement for their efforts yesterday getting Maj. Bradford medical attention and getting the suspect in custody.

"Tommy and I started in this business many years ago," Sheriff Cross said. "He's not only an officer, a major, he's my friend."

Sheriff Cross said after he was hurt, he was "joking" even though he had lost his leg. "Very devastating but he was in good spirits."

Sheriff Cross also commended his character. "He's also a foster parent. He just adopted a child, which says many things about Tommy. He's just a great guy."

Watch the full interview below. Scroll down further to read more about the suspect and Maj. Bradford's condition.

We also learned that the suspect, Laura Leeann Wooten is 35 years old, and has a Henegar, Alabama address. Cross says she has warrants in Dade County. He says she is not being cooperative with investigators.

Sheriff Cross said, "These things happen in a split second... you can Monday morning quarterback all day long... He was trying to do the right thing... She targeted him. Struck him."

The Fort Payne Times-Journal provides details it obtained from Fort Payne Police on how the incident began: "Around 11: 50 a.m., a resident in Fort Payne reported a suspicious truck in a neighbor’s driveway, [Fort Payne Police Chief Randy] Bynum said in a press release. He said the caller reported a woman who had gone into a carport at the residence where the caller states the driver picked up an item. Bynum said it was reported that the woman left, and the vehicle was later spotted by Fort Payne Officer Ray Morales."

Scroll down to learn more about a blood drive for Maj. Bradford. We will have more on that later in the day.

This story will be updated.

UPDATE (11 a.m.):

Sheriff Ray Cross has announced he'll hold a news conference about the incident at the County Commission Building at noon. We will stream that live on our website and on our Facebook page. You can also watch it here.

We also received a photo of Maj. Bradford from his wife:

And there's a new post on the Dade County Sheriff's Facebook page:

The post says,

"Letter from the Sheriff....

Good morning everyone,

The tragic events of yesterday have devastated our community and our department. Major Tommy Bradford is not only an outstanding officer, but he is also a dear friend and brother. Major Bradford has already had surgery, and has many more to come. His road to recovery will be a long one, but not one without support. I want to personally thank the citizens of Dade County, as well as our surrounding counties, for your outpouring of love and support for Major Bradford, his family, all law enforcement, first responders, and dispatchers. I want to commend Sergeant Buddy Waters and Sergeant Chip Borrow for their outstanding work in rendering aid to Major Bradford, apprehending the suspect, and bringing the chase to a safe end, with no injury to innocent bystanders. Please continue to pray for Major Bradford, his family, our department, and all first responders.

Special Thanks to:

  • Our Sheriff's Office Staff
  • Trenton PD
  • Dade County Commision
  • Dade County School System
  • Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office
  • Puckett EMS
  • Judge Joel McCormick
  • Dade County DA
  • Sheriff Steve Wilson
  • Walker County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dade County EMA Directors
  • All Dade County EMS and Fire Departments
  • Dade County Dispatch
  • Georgia Sheriff's Association
  • GSP
  • GBI
  • Life Force Air Medical
  • Lookout Mtn Drug Task Force
  • GA DOT
  • GA Forestry
  • GA Department of Public Safety (MCCD Division)
  • Fort Payne PD
  • Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office
  • Soddy Daisy PD
  • Chattanooga PD
  • Chattanooga Fire Department
  • Erlanger Health System
  • Walden Security
  • All local businesses supplying food for the family
  • Southeastern Lineman Technical College

All citizens, churches, surrounding public safety agencies, and organizations sending prayers, well wishes, and thoughts."

UPDATE: (8:50 a.m. Wednesday):


NewsChannel 9 confirmed the name of the suspect from the chase on Tuesday from Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson. She is Laura LeeAnn Wooten.


Also, the Dade County Sheriff's Department shared a post from Mary Ann Duvall Bradford, Chief Deputy Major Bradford's wife, that updates his condition:

The post says, "Morning update: First of all THANK YOU everyone for all the kind words this morning. Tommy had a good night considering all of his injuries. The phantom leg pains are really bad and he’s on morphine every ten minutes for that. The Drs said his blood pressure stabilized through the night and all of his other levels are great. He had to get several pints of blood and he’s responding well to them. His platelets are a little low so they gave him some more in case he has surgery. They were going to put a central line IV in his chest but he’s done so well they have decided not to do that ????. The Drs are still discussing if they will do the shoulder and pelvis surgery today or not. His leg surgery will be in a few days. He’s still smiling and cracking jokes, we feel the love and peace of God up here. His only request is for a Diet Dr Pepper ?? if they don’t do surgery we can finally get him one. Again thank you everyone we love you all!"


Maj. Bradford’s pastor at Piney Grove Baptist Church says the church will hold a blood drive Wednesday night. It is scheduled to start at 430 p.m,, but they are hoping to get started by 3:30 p.m.

Piney Grove Baptist Church is at 864 Piney Road in Trenton.

UPDATE (7:00 a.m. Wednesday):

The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) released more details about the incident, but as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, authorities have still not identified the woman who deputies arrested in the middle of downtown Trenton.

The GSP report adds the details about how authorities stopped the suspect. It says after the suspect struck and seriously injured Major Bradford, she continued speeding into downtown Trenton, trying to turn right upon entering the downtown square.

The report continues, "As the Ford pickup completed its turn, the Dade County Sheriff's Deputy directly behind the Ford Pickup was able to push the pickup into a utility pole, stopping the pursuit."

The report says the suspect was taken to CHI Memorial hospital in Fort Oglethorpe to be treated for injuries she received after hitting the utility pole. It says she was later taken to the Walker County Jail Tuesday night, and says she faces "multiple felony charges" for the incident.

The report also says Bradford remains in critical condition at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Read the full report below:

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE (7:30 p.m.):

Meanwhile, the Trenton community is gathering at Jenkins Park to pray for Major Tommy Bradford of Dade County. He was critically injured while trying to stop a high-speed chase from reaching Trenton. Several people including Sgt. Chad Payne took the stand to lead in prayer. Community members say Major Bradford is a former school officer and a foster parent.

Deborah Douglas says she's known "Tommy" since he was a child, adding " He’s just a big hearted man. He loves his force, loves his town and loves the people in it and the man would give his life for his town"

Read more about the incident below.

UPDATE (6:30 p.m.):

The Dade County Sheriff's Office is thanking the community for their outpouring of support for Major Tommy Bradford, who was injured while trying to stop a suspect involved in a high-speed chase ending in Trenton.

Trenton City Police Department is asking people to donate blood at local drives.

There will also be a vigil tonight in Trenton for Major Bradford's family. It starts at 7:30 p.m. ET at Jenkins Park Tuesday night.

Donations will be collected - afterwards, they will be given to the sheriff's office for the family.

The Dade County Sheriff's Office website says Major Tommy Bradford is the sheriff's chief deputy.

According to the website, he started as a School Resource Officer with the Dade County School System back in 2000. The website says Bradford is married and has six children.

Depend on us to keep you posted as we learn more.

UPDATE (5:45 p.m.):

The Dade County Sheriff's Office says one of their deputies was seriously injured as a chase originating in DeKalb County, Alabama ended in Trenton Tuesday afternoon.

DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Chad Payne confirms they were notified around 2:15 p.m. that DeKalb County sheriff's deputies were chasing burglary suspect in a white pickup truck toward Trenton on Highway 11.

Payne says the woman was driving in excess of 90 to 95 miles per hour.

Payne says Major Tommy Bradford was setting up a spike strip on Highway 11 at South Cedar Lane when the truck hit, critically injuring him. He says that despite Major Bradford losing his leg, he will be okay.

The sheriff's office says some deputies stopped to help Bradford, while others continued the chase.

Bradford was airlifted to Erlanger.

Sergeant Payne says the suspect, a woman, was arrested after the truck crashed in Trenton.

Viewer Taylor Lynn shared this video with us from Trenton.

Depend on us to keep you posted as we learn more.


The Georgia State Patrol and Dade County Sheriff's Office are investigating after a crash in downtown Trenton Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities have blocked off two sections. One is on Church Street, where law enforcement have closed off the intersection.

Our crew on the scene saw officers searching a white truck.

NewsChannel 9's Taylor Stewart also says the Dade County Sheriff's Office has also blocked off Highway 11 and Cedar Lane.

Georgia State Patrol have arrived at Highway 11.

We are working to get more details on the investigation.

Depend on us to update this developing story.

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