High speed car chase ends in arrest in Carter County

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Members of the Carter County Sheriff's Department, Elizabethton Police Department and an officer from the Tennessee Highway Patrol were involved in a high-speed car chase through Elizabethton in the early morning hours on Monday that ended in the arrest of a 41-year-old man.
   Steven A. Bennett, 1703 Orlando Drive, Johnson City, was arrested by CCSD Deputy Dean Jones and charged with DUI, driving without a license, felony reckless endangerment, violation of the implied consent law, felony evading arrest and resisting arrest.
   According to reports, at approximately 12:10 a.m., law enforcement officers were notified to be on the look out for a blue 1991 Geo Metro which was reported as driving in a reckless manner by another motorist.
   Jones said he saw the vehicle driving eastbound on West Elk Avenue and as he turned to follow the car, it turned right into Stanley Trailer Park but then turned back onto West Elk Avenue going east and began bright-lighting a mini van.
   Jones said he then turned on his lights and executed a traffic stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of Elizabethton High School. The driver identified himself as Bennett and as Jones was returning to his cruiser to check the status of Jone's driver's license, Bennett pulled out of the parking lot and turned west onto West Elk Avenue.
   According to Jones, Bennett was driving at a high rate of speed after he left the parking lot dodging in and out of traffic. "At times he was doing 95 miles per hour through West Elk Avenue," he said.
   Reports state that Bennett turned onto Highway 67 off of Elk Avenue and continued to drive toward Johnson City. As the vehicle approached Sinking Creek Baptist Church, it began to slow down and gave a turn signal to turn into the parking lot.
   "I thought he was going to stop, but he turned around and headed back toward Elizabethton," Jones said.
   Bennett then turned onto West Elk Avenue again and began heading east. At the intersection of Elk Avenue and Bemberg Road, Bennett then made a u-turn and went through the parking lot of the Citgo gas station in a reckless manner while several people were in the parking lot, Jones said.
   According to reports, Bennett then re-entered West Elk Avenue headed toward Johnson City.
   Other law enforcement officers were notified of the chase and began to block off intersections to help end the pursuit. "Any time that happens they notify other area agencies," Jones said.
   Bennett then drove to the intersection of West Elk Avenue and Buck Van Huss Drive and almost lost control before turning back toward Elizabethton.
   "The vehicle was finally stopped at the intersection (West Elk Avenue and Highway 67) and myself and Lt. (Mike) Fraley, THP Mark Musick and members of the Elizabethton Police Department had to subdue Mr. Bennett and physically restrain him," Jones said in his report.
   After Bennett was handcuffed, Jones asked him if he had been drinking and he answered that he had drank 12 beers that evening, according to Jones.
   Jones said that Bennett refused to submit to field sobriety tests and refused to take the Intoximeter test.