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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Trial of Carter Co. man involved in police chase begins

May 14th, 2013 8:55 am by John Thompson

Trial of Carter Co. man involved in police chase begins

ELIZABETHTON — A Carter County jury heard testimony from officers of the Elizabethton Police Department and deputies from the Carter County Sheriff’s Department on Monday who said they were involved in a pursuit of Travis Grover Richardson, 30, through four jurisdictions on Aug. 2, 2011.
Richardson is accused of attempting to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the IGA in the Betsytowne Shopping Center in Elizabethton.
When officers attempted to take him into custody, he allegedly fought with them, then fled toward Stateline Road and stole a 1994 Jeep Cherokee.
Officers’ testimony included in-cruiser camera videos of a pursuit that began on Stateline Road and onto U.S. Highway 19E south to Hampton. The pursuit continued to Gap Creek Road, Dry Creek Road, Sciota Road and into Unicoi County to Highway 107 and South Roan Street before the Jeep was forced off the road in South Johnson City.
The video of Lt. Penny Cornett of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department was especially vivid. Cornett began the chase inside the city of Elizabethton on U.S. Highway 19E and she took the lead in the chase once it reached the county jurisdiction. The video shows the Jeep suddenly coming to a stop at one point, then backing up to ram the front of Cornett’s cruiser. The chase continues as she attempted to use her bumper to spin out Richardson.
Cornett continued to lead the chase through Unicoi County. As the pursuit neared Johnson City, a Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department cruiser is shown in front of the Jeep. The Jeep remains in front as the cars reach Johnson City. Cornett then is able to spin out the Jeep.
She testified she approached Richardson and ordered him to surrender. When he began to roll up the windows, she used a Taser on him.
The charges against Richardson include two counts of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated robbery, theft of property over $1,000, aggravated assault, evading arrest, criminal simulation (counterfeit money) and vandalism.
With the jury outside of the courtroom, defense attorney Jim Bowman asked Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood to dismiss several of the charges.
Blackwood agreed to dismiss one count of aggravated assault after prosecutor Janet Hyder agreed there was not sufficient evidence. Blackwood also combined two counts of criminal simulation into one count.
The trial continues today with Richardson scheduled to take the stand.

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