Carter grand jury indicts man on attempted murder charges from police chase

John Thompson • Jan 26, 2012 at 1:36 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A man arrested in Johnson City last summer after a three-county high speed pursuit in which he allegedly rammed three police cruisers has been indicted by a Carter County grand jury on attempted murder and other charges.

Travis Grover Richardson, 29, 1180 Dry Creek Road, was indicted on two counts of attempted second-degree murder; three counts of aggravated assault; aggravated robbery; theft over $1,000 and vandalism.

In an unrelated incident, Richardson also faces a previous charge of attempted first-degree murder.

The latest charges resulted from an incident on Aug. 2, 2011, which began when Richardson allegedly attempted to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the IGA supermarket in the Betsytowne Shopping Center on U.S. Highway 19E.

Elizabethton policeman Matthew Taylor responded and attempted to speak with Richardson. Taylor reported that Richardson attempted to walk away from him, and when Taylor tried to hold him, Richardson struck him and they fought.

Richardson broke free and ran through the parking lot toward State Line Road. Taylor ran after him and later said Richardson turned toward him and swung a knife at Taylor’s chest. He said the knife came within 6 to 12 inches of cutting him.

Richardson crossed State Line Road, ran up the driveway of a residence and confronted the resident, Mike Shawn Hicks. Hicks told officers Richardson demanded the keys to the 1994 Jeep Cherokee parked in the driveway. Richardson then saw the keys were already in the ignition, started the car and began backing out the driveway.

Elizabethton policeman Eric Buck had arrived and attempted to block the driveway. Taylor reported that Richardson backed down the driveway at high speed and struck Buck’s patrol car. The impact moved the car enough that Richardson was able to get Hicks' Jeep through the blocked portion of the driveway.

Taylor was still on foot and later said Richardson also attempted to back the Jeep into him. Taylor jumped into a ditch to avoid being run over. He said Richardson then brandished a knife out the window and said “I will kill you,” ending the statement with profanity.

Richardson made it onto State Line Road, with patrol cars from the Elizabethton Police Department and the Carter County Sheriff’s Department pursuing him. The pursuit went along U.S. 19E through Hampton, then turned onto Gap Creek Road and Dry Creek Road.

Before reaching Unicoi County, Carter County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Penny Cornett attempted to stop Richardson on Sciota Road. Sheriff Chris Mathes said Richardson would not stop and struck the front of Cornett’s cruiser.

The pursuit then entered Unicoi County. Sgt. Greg Copp and other Unicoi County deputies attempted a rolling road block to stop Richardson. Copp’s cruiser was smashed in the rear by Richardson’s vehicle.

The pursuit finally ended near Tipton-Haynes State Historic Area on South Roan Street in Johnson City. The tires on the right side of the Jeep went flat, causing the vehicle to go into a spin and crash into two parked cars.

The previous charge of attempted first-degree murder was for an incident on Frontage Road in the Okolona section of Carter County. Richardson allegedly broke into the house of an ex-girlfriend and stabbed her new boyfriend, Daniel Honeycutt, while he was sleeping in the bed.

Richardson will appear in the next session of Criminal Court to answer his latest charges.

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