Caught on camera: Burglary suspect takes man on a wild ride

Walter Simmons
Walter Simmons
Johnny Gattis (Source: Louisville Metro Department of Corrections)
Johnny Gattis (Source: Louisville Metro Department of Corrections)

FAIRDALE, KY (WAVE) - A burglary suspect took a Kentuckiana business owner on a wild ride. It's a WAVE 3 exclusive that takes us to New Cut Road in Fairdale where 61-year-old Walter Simmons told us he has never experienced anything like it.

Simmons said he survived being run over and dragged by a car after a man broke into his business, and he's got the scrapes and video to prove it.

The bandages, bumps and bruises were all evidence of a morning this week Simmons says he never expected. It all started around 4:30 a.m. of August 4 at the First String Family Sports Grill and Pub, which Simmons owns.

"I had my alarm go off at the business," Simmons said. "I showed up and the person was still inside."

Louisville Metro Police said that person is 30-year old Johnny Gattis of Shepherdsville. Simmons said surveillance video shows Gattis going through the register area. When Gattis went outside, Simmons confronted him.

"As he was trying to get into his automobile, I was trying to stop him," said Simmons. "And then, he got it started. That's when all hell broke loose."

Simmons somehow got his arm hung in Gattis' car and was dragged down through the parking lot. It all unfolded on security cameras. Simmons said he was dragged 30 to 40 feet and run over by a car. Amazingly, Simmons was able to get up and walk away.

"Scary!" is how Simmons described the experience. "It's so quick you know. Your adrenaline's flowing and you don't think."

Simmons said he was fortunate.

Simmons jotted down the license plate info and police arrived at his business. Officers started combing the area and say they tracked Gattis down at the Value Place on Commerce Park.

"The police did an excellent job," Simmons said. "I praise the police in this area."

A job well done by Metro officers could help police in Harrison County, Indiana solve an investigation. Gattis is the same man deputies there say broke into homes in New Salisbury last month, then stole a tractor and a car.

Thanks to Simmons, police have their suspect. But would he do it again?

"Looking back, I don't know...probably just....just let it go and try to get more information instead of confronting them," Simmons said.

Gattis remains at Louisville Metro Corrections on charges of robbery and assault.

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