N.C. man charged with assaulting city officers, jailers

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   A North Carolina man was being held Tuesday night in Carter County Jail on $10,000 corporate bond following his arrest Monday on numerous charges, including the assault of an Elizabethton Police Department patrolman.
   Tilghman Harold Fulcher, 42, 36 Beatrice Hollow Rd., Elk Park, N.C., also was charged by Carter County Sheriff's Department Jailer Terry Blevins following an incident at Carter County Jail.
   Fulcher was taken into custody Monday by city Ptl. Brooke Mullins after city and county officers were dispatched to Gap Creek Road regarding a vehicle that had hit a tree and was still traveling north on two flat tires. According to Deputy Todd Hamm, Fulcher's vehicle drove through a yard at 1614 Gap Creek Rd., ran over a small decorative fence and flower bed, traveled through a neighbor's yard and struck a small tree before returning to the roadway and leaving the scene. The vehicle was found in the parking lot of Watauga Baptist Church, near the intersection of Gap Creek Road and West G Street.
   When Ptl. Mullins arrived on the scene she saw a red vehicle in the church parking lot and two male subjects running across Gap Creek Road toward Holiday Market.
   The officer approached Fulcher, who was running toward West G Street, and ordered him to stop. Fulcher turned toward her and continued walking away, backwards. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was told by the officer that he was under arrest for public intoxication, at which time he turned back around and began running for W. G Street.
   Ptl. Mullins grabbed Fulcher by the back of the shirt and attempted to restrain him, however, Fulcher turned and hit the officer on the side of the head and continued running. He was overtaken by Ptl. Mullins, taken to the ground, and restrained by the officer and Sgt. Charles Moreland while Ptl. Jerry Bradley handcuffed Fulcher. Deputy Laverne Julian also responded to the scene and assisted. When asked for identification, Fulcher gave Ptl. Mullins false information.
   Once inside the back of the patrol car, Fulcher kicked out the side glass, damaging the window. He was charged by Ptl. Mullins with assault, criminal impersonation, destruction of government/city property, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and public intoxication.
   A passenger in the vehicle driven by Fulcher, Franky Charles Heaton, 51, Route 1, Elk Park, N.C., was arrested shortly thereafter by Deputy Julian. During investigation of the incident, Julian was told by a nearby resident that a male subject had fled the scene after getting into another vehicle. While the officer was speaking with the witness, the vehicle drove by. Deputy Julian followed in his patrol car, stopping the suspect vehicle on Jena Beth Drive. Heaton matched the description of the suspect and admitted to having been a passenger in Fulcher's vehicle. He was taken into custody and charged with evading arrest and public intoxication.
   During the booking process at Carter County Jail, Fulcher became belligerent and assaulted two officers, according to Jailer Blevins. Fulcher was subdued with a chemical agent and was searched and placed in the drunk tank. While officers were booking another person into the jail, Blevins detected an odor of smoke and advised other officers present that Fulcher was burning something. When Blevins looked into the drunk tank monitor, he observed what appeared to be a flashing light or flame.
   Jailer Blevins and other officers opened the door of the drunk tank and found that Fulcher had taken off his clothes and set them on fire. Jailers used a fire extinguisher to extinguish the blaze. Fulcher then was removed from the drunk tank and placed in the visitation room. Two other inmates, who were in a holding cell, were removed to the hallway until the smoke cleared.
   While in the visitation room, Fulcher knocked the surveillance camera loose from the wall. He was charged by Jailer Blevins with arson, two counts of assault, and destruction of county property.