STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A chaotic scene unfolded Tuesday in the middle of I-94 as Macomb County deputies chased a man who stole a Sterling Heights police cruiser.
"A decision was made that if the opportunity presented itself that that vehicle would be taken out," Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said.
WATCH: Dashcam footage from chase
A PIT maneuver was used and sent a deputy's car flying.
"After he did the PIT, he lost control," Wickersham said. "Usually they stay on the roadway, but he went up in the embankment and into the backyard."
A van with a woman and child inside also landed on the embankment.
"There was a van with a lady and young child in it," Wickersham said. "They were checked out. The child wasn't hurt at all."
Wickersham spoke to Local 4 about the decision to do the PIT maneuver, saying it was a difficult call.
"High-speed pursuits and chases are supervisors' nightmares," Wickersham said. "(They have to make) decisions whether to keep your officers involved in a pursuit or terminate a pursuit."
Wickersham said the deputies are not trained on PIT maneuvers, but the department gave the deputy permission in this case.
"To stop any further movement of that vehicle with an armed suspect inside -- the suspect having access to weapons that may have been inside that police cruiser," Wickersham said.
Remarkably, nobody was seriously injured on the highway.
"In any type of these situations, especially when they're going this type of maneuver in this type of day, this type of traffic, everybody walking away, that's a good day," Wickersham said.
Wickersham released the following statement:
"The action taken by the deputy used to stop the stolen police vehicle is commonly known as a pit maneuver. Although the pit maneuver is not a training point, this deputy was given permission to terminate the flight of the stolen police vehicle due to the emergency nature and magnitude of the underlying criminal action of the occupant of the stolen vehicle."