Local man performs a heroic act that results in an arrest

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
Jerry Campbell is a hero.
So says Carter County Sheriff John Henson.
Campbell aided law enforcement officers in the apprehension of Jason Davis, who was later charged with attempted first-degree murder, just over a week ago.
Campbell, who used to be a road officer with the Carter County Sheriff's Department, was sitting in the parking lot of an old store on Highway 91 when he was once again called to use his experience as a law enforcement officer.
Earlier that night, a man had attempted to murder his father's girlfriend at a residence approximately one mile away from where Campbell was sitting in his truck. Campbell first heard about the incident on his scanner.
"I've got a scanner and it has never been off since I left the Sheriff's Department," Campbell said, adding that he and his wife heard the calls for medical assistance and law enforcement officers to respond to a residence on Highway 91.
"We only heard bits and pieces of it because we were watching TV," Campbell said. "My wife has two sisters that live there near where this was going on and she wanted me to go and check on them. At first I said I wasn't going to go down there. Then I decided to go down there and when I went by there were law enforcement officers there and the rescue squad and the fire department. All kinds of vehicles were there.
"I decided to go down the road and wait for the traffic to clear up before I went back up there so I parked at the old Andy Shoun store, which isn't open anymore. I'd say I'd been there about three minutes at the most when this happened."
What Campbell is talking about is when Davis jumped into his truck and asked Campbell to drive him down the road.
"He came running down through the parking lot. He had run out from behind one of the houses there and he just got into my truck," Campbell said. "When he first came running through the parking lot he was yelling 'Help me. Get me out of here' and at first I thought that maybe he had been hurt.
"Before I knew it he was in my truck. He started demanding for me to get him away from there. I knew from my experience as a law enforcement officer that something was wrong. I could smell a very strong odor of alcohol on his person."
At the time all of this was happening, Campbell still did not know what had occurred at the residence up the road from the store where he had parked.
"I knew at that point when he demanded to be taken down the road that he was involved in whatever happened up there and I had to get him back up there," Campbell said.
At a point where many people may have panicked, Campbell kept his cool, even though he knew he was in danger.
"At the point when he entered my truck and the shape he was in and the way he was ordering me around I knew something was wrong and he was involved and I knew it could be dangerous. It could have been more dangerous if I had taken him down the road like he wanted me to. But I knew that law enforcement officers were up the road," Campbell said. "What he had done I didn't know but the way he was acting I knew he was involved in something. I just knew I had to get him back up there.
"Yes I thought I was in danger."
As Campbell began driving Davis back toward the scene where law enforcement officers were, Davis attempted to gain control of the vehicle, still demanding for Campbell to drive him the other direction.
"He was wanting to take control of my truck. At one point he said 'Don't take me back up there,'" Campbell said. "He continued trying to go down the road. He didn't want me to take him back up there."
Davis and Campbell scuffled over control of the truck all the way back to the scene as Davis attempted to pull the wheel away from Campbell. "There is only so much a person can do while they are trying to hold someone off," Campbell said.
When the two arrived back at the scene, Davis jumped out of the truck as Campbell called for help. "When he got out of my truck there were some people there -- people from the rescue squad, some firefighters and Sheriff's deputies -- and I asked them to help me with him," Campbell said. "I don't know who those men were but they did a wonderful job."
Davis was apprehend as he attempted to re-enter Campbell's truck, this time on the driver's side. During the scuffle where Davis tried to enter Campbell's truck, the truck sustained just over $1,000 worth of damage in the form of scratches and dents to the driver's side.
Campbell commended the officers with the CCSD who were on the scene that night. "The people of this county are to be proud of John Henson," Campbell said, adding that Henson and the CCSD work hard and are dedicated to their job. "His men did an outstanding job."
Henson expressed the same sentiment about Campbell.
"I appreciate what he did and I appreciate the effort he made to help us apprehend Davis," Henson said. "If it wasn't for Jerry and the volunteer firemen and rescue squad members, Davis may have gotten away."
According to Henson, Campbell has helped the Sheriff's Department before. "He's always been very helpful to law enforcement," he said.
One of the most important factors about Campbell bringing Davis back to the scene of the crime, according to Henson, is that Campbell was able to remain calm under pressure. "He didn't get excited about the situation and he kept his cool. He realized he was in some danger but he remained calm," Henson said. "He had the courage and the knowledge to know that something was going on and he needed to get Davis back up there. That takes, in my opinion, a lot of bravery and a lot of courage to do what he did.
"In my opinion he is a hero."