Local man arrested on drug charges

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
  An early morning wreck on West Elk Avenue led to the arrest of a tractor trailer driver after he fled from the scene of the accident.
  James Edward Brantley, 28, of Sharpe Chapel, was arrested shortly after 7:30 a.m. by officers of the Elizabethton Police Department and charged with DUI, four counts of reckless endangerment, possession of drug paraphernalia on school property, possession of Schedule II narcotics on school property, possession of Schedule II narcotics within 50 yards of a school, violation of the implied consent law and leaving the scene of an accident.
  At around 7:35 a.m., officers of the EPD were dispatched to a car accident that occurred on West Elk Avenue in the area of Hudson Drive in which the driver had fled the scene.
  "(The) investigation revealed that the tractor trailer was traveling east on West Elk Avenue when he came across the center turn lane and both westbound lanes. He struck a light pole and continued eastbound in the wrong lane," said EPD Ptl. Jesse Pena in his report. "Another tractor trailer heading west stopped, but was still struck as the tractor trailer came onto the grass to the (outside) of the westbound lanes. He then continued on the grass almost flipping over three cars behind the tractor trailer (which had been struck).
  "The tractor trailer (driven by Brantley) then came back onto the road, cleared the intersection of Hudson and West Elk and continued on with a flat right front tire."
  According to Pena's report, Brantley then drove the tractor trailer down West Elk Avenue and turned right onto Bemberg Road and then turned into the parking lot of Elizabethton High School. The report also states that tire marks in the parking lot indicated that he attempted to turn the vehicle around but was unable to do so.
  EPD Capt. Clyde Croy was also dispatched on the call concerning the truck which had fled the scene of the accident. "One of the trucks involved fled the scene. The truck which left the scene was located in the parking lot of Elizabethton High School. The driver was observed running south through the parking lot wearing a white sleeveless undershirt, gray pants and a ball cap," states Croy in his report on the incident. "Officers lost sight of the driver and was advised that he ran around the school."
  Croy was then able to apprehend the driver, who was later identified as Brantley, in the parking lot of the Northeast Community Credit Union, located at 980 West E St. just across the street from Elizabethton High School.
  During a pat down search of Brantley, Croy found a packet containing an off-white powder substance which officers believed to be methadone. At that time, according to the report, Brantley was asked to submit to a chemical test and he refused to do so.
  Brantley was then taken into custody by Croy.
  Officers also conducted a search of the tractor trailer driven by Brantley which had been abandoned by him in the parking lot of the high school. During the search, officers located "drugs and drug paraphernalia" according to the report. Among the items found were a butane cutting torch, just over five grams of methadone, coffee filters with methamphetamine residue and more than 70 tablets of pseudoephedrine, which is a precursor for producing the drug methamphetamine.