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Man faces attempted first-degree murder, other charges

Staff Reports • Mar 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM

A Gray man charged with trying to kill a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper after a high-speed chase Jan. 3 was arraigned on multiple charges in Washington County Criminal Court on Monday.

Derrick Dakota Kitzmiller, 20, 297 Kitzmiller Road, was indicted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, felony evading with risk of death, reckless endangerment, criminal impersonation, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, driving on a suspended license with a prior DUI and speeding — 110 mph in a 70 mph zone.

According to prosecutors, Kitzmiller was on Interstate 81 operating some type of blue flashing light on his girlfriend’s vehicle, which caused other drivers to think they were being pulled over. That’s what alerted the THP to Kitzmiller’s erratic driving on Interstate 81 around 2:15 a.m. Jan. 3.

When Trooper Jeff Appleba attempted to stop the offending vehicle, Kitzmiller sped up and continued onto Interstate 26, then exited onto Eastern Star Road and turned onto Hog Hollow Road. Kitzmiller lost control in a curve, ran off the road and hit two trees.

When Appleba got out of his cruiser, Kitzmiller fired a weapon at him, according to investigators.

Kitzmiller remains jailed on a $121,000 bond. His girlfriend, Jennifer Russell, is also charged in the incident, but her case is set for May 24. They will both appear that day.

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