WHAS11 Exclusive: Owner of stolen semi involved in police chase talks


by Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on March 21, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 21 at 11:45 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A police chase up and down one of the busiest interstates in Louisville on a Friday afternoon ends with 44-year-old Erik Atwell on the business end of a big tackle by an officer.

Police said Atwell stole the semi-cab from a farm leased by Joe Bischoff. Bischoff’s day started with a phone call from one of his employees at Oxmoor Farms.

“He says, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And I don’t like that kind of news broken, cause you never know what’s going to happen and he said our blue and white freightliner is gone,” Bischoff recalled.

The cab, worth more than $20,000, had been unhooked from the trailer full of wheat before the thief took off. It’s a feat not just anyone could pull off.

“You have to build up the air, you have to unloosen the air lines to the trailer, and let the air build up and all that,” Bischoff explained.

The same employee saw the truck again just a few hours later, not far from where it went missing.

“And then, it sounded like he may have tried to bring the truck back and my guy that works for me seen him and got after him,” said Bischoff.

Bischoff hasn’t had a chance to watch the chase yet. But, he’s gotten the play by play more than a few times.

 “You see these crazy things on these shows that show all this bizarre stuff,” he said, “My feeling was, let’s just hope nobody gets hurt.”

No other cars were involved. Police followed at a safe speed and distance with lights and sirens on until Atwell pulled over and sprinted. Bischoff said he doesn’t know Atwell.

Atwell’s criminal history in Jefferson County showed prior arrests for fleeing and evading police in a motor vehicle, DUI, resisting arrest, and several other charges.

Atwell was taken to University Hospital after the chase and treated for a bloody nose. He was then booked into Metro Corrections.