By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An elderly Atmore man, held in the Escambia County (Fla,) Jail since February 2021 for trying to run down several law enforcement officers with his car, has been extradited to Alabama to face charges here.
The Escambia County Detention Center website shows that 75-year-old Lem Roy Sanders, who is said to suffer from an undisclosed mental illness, was processed into the facility July 8 on one count of attempted murder.
Sanders, who was initially also charged here with attempting to elude police, had not had a bond hearing by late Monday, July 11, but a jail employee said he was “on the list” for such a hearing.
The incident that landed the Atmore man in two different jails began February 24, 2021, when Sanders tried to run down an Atmore police officer with his car as an incident at a local bank escalated and eventually turned into a chase that carried into Florida
He reportedly rammed his car into an APD vehicle when city police and Escambia County (Fla.) sheriff’s deputies cornered him in the parking lot of a shopping center just across the state line.
The incident began at United Bank’s West Nashville branch, where bank employees called police and reported that a “disorderly” person refused to leave the bank’s property when ordered to do so.
APD patrol officers attempted to speak with Sanders, who sat in his vehicle in the bank parking lot, but reports show he “fled away, nearly striking an officer with the vehicle” as they approached.
Sanders drove to the Piggly Wiggly shopping center just over the state line, and drove into the parking lot. As he tried to maneuver his way out, he “struck an unmarked APD police unit, causing damage, while trying to flee from officers.” Police were finally able to break the driver’s side window of his vehicle and take him into custody.
He apparently also tried to run down some of the Florida lawmen and was charged with three counts of aggravated battery in that state. He remained behind bars in Pensacola until he was released to Alabama authorities last week.
Under Florida law, aggravated battery can be charged if a defendant uses a deadly weapon (in this case, a car) to strike another person.