Two men arrested after shoplifting, colliding with building

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

Two Butler men were arrested Tuesday night and charged with alcohol offenses after they were reportedly seen stealing items from a local business then leading police officers on a chase on the west end of town before colliding nearly head-on with a building.
   Scotty Wayne Ritchie, Jr., 32, 205 Scott St., Butler, was charged with DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of the implied consent law, four counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, felony evading arrest and violation of the open container law.
   James Richard White, 31, 151 Dogwood Lane, Butler, was charged with public intoxication.
   Wal-Mart is pursuing charges against both Ritchie and White for shoplifting.
   According to a report by Elizabethton Police Department Ptl. Jennifer Mayberry, the 911 Communications Center advised her to respond to the Wal-Mart parking lot where two males had been observed near a tent which was housing a clearance sale loading items which they had not paid for into a red Nissan pickup truck, and that they were fleeing the scene.
   While she was responding to the scene, Mayberry inquired of the Communications Center if anyone had been able to obtain a tag number from the vehicle. While waiting on the response, Mayberry observed a red Nissan pickup truck driving in a reckless manner on Tony Fuller Road.
   "The vehicle ran through the stop signs at the Bemberg and private entrance roads and proceeded through the parking lot at Whites at a very dangerous speed," Mayberry states in her report.
   Mayberry then pulled her police cruiser into the parking lot of The Medicine Shop in an attempt to block the entrance onto the highway. "The suspect vehicle pulled around the building and stopped several yards away from the patrol vehicle. The suspect vehicle then started toward the exit which the patrol vehicle occupied and then swerved around the patrol vehicle," Mayberry states in her report. "At this time no registration was available for the vehicle, therefore (Mayberry) activated the vehicle siren and attempted to get close enough to the vehicle to obtain a tag number."
   At that time, the suspect vehicle entered West Elk Avenue traveling westbound with Mayberry in pursuit.
   "The suspect vehicle ran through a red light at West Elk and Bemberg Roads causing several vehicles to have to stop or swerve out of the way. The vehicle then proceeded south on Bemberg Road and ran through the redlight at West G and Bemberg without stopping," Mayberry states in her report. "The vehicle continued west on West G Street to Rogison Drive and turned north onto Rogison. The vehicle was traveling too fast to negotiate the turn and ran into the yard of the old Carter County Memorial Hospital.
   The vehicle then exited the yard and crossed Rogison Drive and struck the Medical Arts Building head on."
   After crashing, the driver of the vehicle, who was later identified as Ritchie, exited the vehicle and was very unsteady on his feet, according to Mayberry's report. When the officer approached Ritchie, she could smell the odor on an intoxicating beverage around him, the report states.
   Due to Ritchie's driving which had been observed by the officer and the smell of the intoxicant about his person, Mayberry placed Ritchie under arrest for DUI. "No field sobriety tests were given due to the impact of the vehicle into the brick building," Mayberry states in her report.
   At that time, Mayberry read the implied consent form to Ritchie and he refused to submit to a chemical test to determine his level of intoxication.
   "Upon inventorying the vehicle prior to it being towed, a set of scales, a syringe and a bottle labeled methadone were located in the vehicle along with two opened 12 ounce Budweiser cans which were half full and still cold," Mayberry states in her report.
   White, who was a passenger in the vehicle during the pursuit and at the time of the crash, was also found to be intoxicated at the scene and was taken into custody by EPD Ptl. Jason Shaw and charged with public intoxication.
   Both Ritchie and White are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on August 4.