ELIZABETHTON — A man accused of trying to avoid arrest by running out of the Criminal Courtroom and over a court bailiff manning the metal detector was quickly brought into custody Friday.
Phillip Burnett, 33, 340 Lovers Lane, No. 24, was charged with evading arrest, assault and disorderly conduct.
Lt. Tim Horne of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department said the incident began around 9:20 a.m., while he was sitting in the hallway awaiting his time to testify in a case in Sessions Court.
Horne said he learned later that Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street had informed Burnett there was an outstanding Washington County arrest warrant charging him with violation of probation.
As Horne was sitting in the hallway, he said the doors to Criminal Court suddenly flew open and Burnett “burst through ... in a rather hasty manner.” Right behind Burnett, Horne saw Deputy Tracie Phipps chasing the fleeing man and ordering him to stop.
Deputy Fred Lockett was working the metal detector at the front of the building and saw the pursuit. Horne said Lockett stood in the path of Burnett. Horne said Burnett lowered his shoulder and rammed Lockett in the chest and lower abdomen, also shoving Lockett with both of his arms.
As Lockett was falling backward, he continued to order Burnett to stop. Burnett had regained his balance and ran out the front doors of the Justice Center, heading toward Elk Avenue.
Horne and Investigator Nick Andes continued to pursue Burnett. After crossing Elk Avenue, Horne said Burnett obeyed instructions to stop. Burnett was handcuffed and brought back to Criminal Court. Horne said just before they went back inside the courtroom, Burnett began yelling and cursing.
Horne said the disturbance was making it difficult for lawyers to talk with their clients. Horne and Lt. Patrick Johnson both ordered Burnett to stop cursing and said “his conduct was inappropriate for the surroundings.”
The officers said it was apparent Burnett would not calm down, so they escorted him to the jail.