Man gets 20 years for trying to run over cop
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – A 46-year-old former Alabaster man will spend the next 20 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to trying to run over a Pelham police officer and striking a U.S. marshal with his vehicle in separate 2012 car chases.
Todd Sterling Miller, whose address is listed on Ridgemont Road in Birmingham and previously was listed on Diane Circle in Alabaster, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree assault and four counts of probation violation during a Sept. 29 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse.
The two counts of attempted first-degree assault originally were attempted murder charges, but were reduced through a plea agreement.
Circuit Court Judge Hewitt Conwill sentenced Miller, who appeared at the hearing in an orange Shelby County Jail jumpsuit, ankle shackles and handcuffs, to a total of 20 years in prison for the guilty pleas. Two other counts of attempted murder were dropped against Miller as the result of the plea agreement.
Miller pleaded guilty to attempting to run over Pelham Police Department Lt. David Rushton on March 13, 2012, while Rushton was attempting to deploy a spike strip to stop Miller’s green Nissan Xterra.
He also pleaded guilty to striking a U.S. marshal’s vehicle during a high-speed chase on Interstate 65 on March 30, 2012.
U.S. marshals used “deadly force” to apprehend Miller during the March 30, 2012, high-speed, multi-city pursuit, which ended on Interstate 65 between mile marker 231 and 228 in Calera. No law enforcement personnel were injured in the incident, but Miller was treated at the scene and was flown to UAB Hospital for further treatment.
In a bond recommendation filed with Miller’s original arrest warrant, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office alleged Miller “has stated to a witness in these cases, in summary, that he lives day-to-day and flees from the police because he will be sent to prison for the rest of his life if he is caught.
“Additionally, he told this witness that he has fled from police multiple times in recent months in order to avoid going to jail,” read the bond recommendation.
Calera, Alabaster and Pelham police officers and the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Public Safety assisted in Miller’s arrest.
A jury found Miller guilty on one count of attempted murder in March, but the jury conviction was set aside to allow Miller to plea to the two attempted first-degree assault charges.
During his Sept. 29 court hearing, Miller requested he be allowed to participate in a year-and-a-half therapeutic rehabilitation program while incarcerated.
“I’d rather be in a program to better myself rather than in a place with a bunch of junk going on,” Miller told Conwill.