Driver of stolen wrecker nabbed after two-state chase

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com
An unidentified male subject reportedly was apprehended late Saturday evening by Virginia authorities following the pursuit of a stolen vehicle from Tennessee into the neighboring state.
The subject reportedly bailed out of the vehicle at the Sullivan County/Scott County line and was captured in Gate City a short time thereafter.
Law enforcement officials from multi jurisdictions were involved in the chase of the 1989 Ford F-450 rollback wrecker, which had been reported stolen from Food City in Kingsport.
Carter County Sheriff's Department deputies began pursuit of the vehicle on Highway 67/321 in Hampton near Swimming Pool Road. According to Lt. Rocky Croy of the sheriff's department, Lt. Harvey Guess spotted the vehicle in Hampton after a BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued for the wrecker. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the driver took off and was pursued by other officers, who took up the chase.
Sheriff's deputies put down stop sticks, according to Lt. Croy, and officers tried to close in as the wrecker neared Carter County Jail. The driver of the wrecker, whose identity was not known at press time, then ran into the median near the jail, taking down a sign in the process.
Lt. Croy, Sheriff John Henson, Lt. Harvey Guess, Sgt. Penny Cornett, Deputy Janice Black and members of the Tennessee Constables Association pursued the vehicle as it traveled through Carter and into Sullivan County. They were joined by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Dexter Lunceford and a THP K-9 unit. Officers from Bluff City Police Department, Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, and Bristol Tennessee Police Department assisted.
Lt. Croy said sheriff's department deputies backed down on Volunteer Parkway in Bristol near the Virginia line. THP and Virginia law enforcement officers continued the pursuit until finally losing sight of the rollback in Virginia.
Shortly thereafter, the wrecker was spotted again, this time reportedly on Interstate 81, and the pursuit resumed. The driver was apprehended inside Gate City, Va. after allegedly wrecking a Virginia police cruiser.
Lt. Croy said that from what he was able to see of the wrecker, there were two individuals inside the vehicle, both reportedly males.
The subjects will be facing numerous charges from the various jurisdictions. In Carter County, charges include evading arrest, several counts of reckless endangerment, and possession of a stolen vehicle.
Further details were unavailable at press time.