Chase Leads To Arrest, Discovery Of Dead Bird

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 19:19:12-04

A high speed chase led to the arrest of a suspect who had a decapitated federally protected bird in his trunk.

That fugitive, identified as Richard John James Mooney, had the bizarre cargo and led Murfreesboro police on the chase, which included Mooney going the wrong way on a busy interstate at one point.

When police finally caught him, they were absolutely stunned by what they found inside his trunk.

"This individual swerved and tried to hit not only our officers, but the motoring public in general," said Sergeant Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Sergeant Evans said Mooney was swerving as he drove down Church Street, and then when they tried to stop him, he took off.

"The officer saw him driving erratically and onto I-24 driving in the wrong direction, endangering countless lives," said Evans.

Eventually Mooney pulled off the interstate and wrecked his vehicle downtown.

"The suspect hit the curb and disabled his car, and he jumped out and ran, but they caught him after a foot chase," said Evans.

Officers arrested Mooney for DUI, but they wondered why he was so desperate to get away.

"We searched his car and found a decapitated turkey buzzard. Probably the last thing the officer expected to find after a vehicle pursuit," said Evans.

The turkey buzzard, or vulture, is a protected bird and killing one is a federal offense.

The reasons Mooney had this mutilated bird in his trunk remain a mystery, but he has been set to answer for it in federal court.

Turkeys vultures can weigh up to four pounds with a wingspan of six feet.

Some people may consider them a nuisance, but it is illegal to kill or capture one without a permit.