Redstone Arsenal GRAB system protects its gates, stopped fleeing vehicle Monday

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Redstone Arsenal takes a dim view of somebody trying to crash its gates.

That was put to the test Monday afternoon when a driver - apparently fleeing an on-base investigation by Redstone police into a domestic dispute - took off, ran a red light, hit a police car and aimed for the gate.

Redstone guards deployed their GRAB net system. It rises from the ground in a few seconds and can stop up to a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour.

The vehicle hit the barrier and came to an abrupt stop. The female driver was able to walk after the crash, but she was taken to the hospital for observation.

FutureNet Security Systems  makes the GRAB net systems used at Redstone. GRAB is an acronym for ground retractable automobile barrier. A company representative  said a driver has ample warning – sirens and lights – well before impact. He compared it to a driver running a red light and two train crossings before they hit the wall.

Redstone Arsenal spokesman Christopher Colster said the system has been place for more than two years.

“It’s important in today’s world to keep bad guys out, and we also in this case, kept a possible situation from spilling into the community,” Colster said.

Last year, burglars fleeing police tried to breach Gate 10. The wall came up and the chase ended.

In 2008, before the system was installed, a woman fleeing a drug arrest drove through a series of concrete barriers and managed to crash through Gate 1 on the Arsenal. She later ran a red light and her car struck a car being driven by Marshall Space Flight Center engineer Darren Spurlock, who was killed in the wreck.

Monday's incident is still under investigation, Colster said.

Here's a video demonstrating a GRAB net system being deployed: