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Bironas accused of initiating chase

AP

A college student told a 911 dispatcher that a man he later identified as Rob Bironas chased him and his friends, then tried to hit their pickup truck minutes before the former Titans kicker’s fatal crash.

Metro Nashville Police Department released copies of two 911 calls Tuesday afternoon. One call was made by Bironas’ wife reporting him missing at 11:40 p.m. on Sept. 20. The second was from Belmont University student Connor Fraley at 10:45 p.m. while being chased by Bironas, who was driving a white SUV.

“He’s literally trying to hit us now,” Fraley told the dispatcher. “We pulled next to him at a stop light, and I told him that something was burning in his exhaust and he called us an . . . and he’s following us right now. He’s been swerving all over the road. We aren’t keeping the speed limit, but it’s because he’s literally trying to do whatever it takes to hit us.”

Bironas, 36, crashed his white 2009 GMC Yukon Denali just after 11 p.m. on Sept. 20. Police said he was speeding as he lost control in a curve, ran off the road into a line of trees and overturned in a culvert near his Nashville home. The investigation is ongoing, and autopsy results aren’t expected for weeks. Police said there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs at the scene.

The call describes what appears to be a troubling sequence of events before Bironas crashed.

It is the second road rage incident allegedly involving the kicker within the 30 minutes of his death.

After Bironas had crashed, a woman standing at the accident site told a 911 dispatcher in a call released Monday that he had tried to run her and her husband off the road minutes earlier. The woman told the dispatcher that she and her husband had pulled over and let the man, who they didn’t recognize at the time, drive past them. She told the dispatcher that the police needed to know something was wrong with him before the crash.

Fraley was a passenger in a truck with other unidentified Belmont students, including a male driver and two females in the backseat. He told The Tennessean he recognized Bironas as the SUV driver after his roommate texted him a photo Sunday morning.

“We had no idea who he was and why he was trying to harm us,” Fraley told The Tennessean. “It was a fight-or-flight situation and, unfortunately, we had to take flight at about 110 miles per hour. It was very scary.”

Fraley did not respond to emails and other messages from The Associated Press on Tuesday. Belmont’s communications director said he passed on a request through the university to the student.

On the 911 call, Fraley told the dispatcher he saw police lights and thought the SUV had been pulled over. The students drove to a parking garage on campus and later gave a report to officers.