SLIDELL, La. -- After taking police on a wild chase through Slidell, a local police officer was able to talk the driver down from harming himself with a machete.
According to the Slidell Police Department, an officer saw the man, later identified at Rene Jaunet III, driving without his seatbelt around 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 12, on Hwy 190 before turning onto Carrol Rd.
Officer Marcey tried to stop Jaunet, but he sped up and tried to flee, police said.
Jaunet swerved into oncoming traffic several times, forcing other vehicles off the road. While speeding, Jaunet then turned down Bayou Liberty Road, disregarding a red traffic light, police said.
Slidell PD said Jaunet then got behind a large truck and swerved into oncoming traffic several times trying to pass the truck.
Being unsuccessful at passing on the left, Jaunet decided to go partially into the ditch and pass the truck on the right. As the vehicle passed and tried to get back onto the roadway it struck the large truck, causing the large truck to spin out or control and block the roadway.
Slidell PD said Officer Marcey was able to get around and continue the pursuit. Jaunet then crossed the railroad tracks at Bayou Liberty and Front Street, causing the vehicle to become airborne for a short distance.
Jaunet slammed on the brakes upon coming back into contact with the roadway and lost control of his vehicle. Jaunet's car then slid into the parking lot of Dan’s Muffler Shop, sliding in between two poles and striking a parked vehicle.
Jaunet then exited the vehicle with a large machete raised above his head and began swinging it while stating, “just shoot me," police said.
Marcev drew his service weapon and the driver dropped to the ground and began attempting to stab himself in the stomach with the machete.
Marcev then switched to his taser and began ordering the driver to drop the machete, police said.
When the driver refused to drop the machete, Officer Marcev used his taser. One prong struck the machete and the other hit Jaunet's car. While the prongs missed, the attaching wires made contact with the driver, causing him to jump then get up and run away, still carrying the machete.
Officers surrounded the area and were able to locate Jaunet in a small alleyway between a house and a garage where he had become trapped between a gate and the officers.
Jaunet then dropped to the ground and put the machete to his throat and began attempting to cut himself with it, police said.
With help from State Police Trooper Theriot, Officer Marcey was able to talk with Jaunet and eventually convinced him to put the weapon down. Jaunet cried out several times during this incident for officers to shoot him and kill him and also stated that he needed help due to circumstances going on in his life.
Jaunet was taken into custody and brought to Slidell Memorial Hospital to be evaluated.
Warrants will be pending for Jaunet upon his release. Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said although the incident began as a minor traffic violation, the driver put himself and others in danger due to his actions.
"I feel that it is very commendable that officers switched to less than lethal weapons when able to and were able to talk the driver into not harming himself," Fandal said. "The driver was taken to the hospital and will hopefully get the help that he needs to get his life in order."