Benjamin Dale Pearson and Christy Marie Grimmett Pearson
ELIZABETHTON — An apparent hit-and-run accident on Friday afternoon led to the arrests of a man and woman on child abuse charges and several drug charges.
Benjamin Dale Pearson, 36, 303 Third Ave., Hampton, and Christy Marie Grimmett Pearson, 33, 2316 Gap Creek Road, were each charged with aggravated child neglect, resisting arrest, promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, initiation of the process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of schedule II and IV drugs, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Mr. Pearson was also charged with a second count of possession of schedule II drug.
Mrs. Pearson was also charged with reckless driving, evading arrest, leaving the scene of an accident, no proof of insurance, child restraint violation and violation of probation.
Officer Sarah Ellison of the Elizabethton Police Department said it began around 12:30 p.m., while she was on patrol on U.S. Highway 19E near the intersection with Siam Road. Ellison said she saw traffic beginning to back up because of what appeared to be an accident involving a white Jeep and a vehicle pulling a trailer.
Ellison said she then saw the Jeep "weave recklessly through traffic and quickly turn onto Siam Road." The operator of the other vehicle said the person driving the Jeep had just struck his trailer and didn't pull over.
Ellison turned on her emergency equipment and began pursuing the Jeep. She said the Jeep was speeding south on Siam and not maintaining proper lane of travel.
Witnesses directed her to turn at Virginia Avenue and she found the Jeep parked at 816 Virginia Ave. Another witness told Ellison the people in the Jeep had pulled into the driveway and ran behind the house. Ellison commanded them to stop, but she said they continued running. She said they included a man, woman and girl.
Ellison said they finally began to comply with her orders to stop and lay on the ground. Patrolman Douglas Combs arrived and the couple were taken into custody and identified. The girl was determined to be 7 years old.
Ellison said Mr. Pearson was found in possession of a glass smoking pipe with residue, several Xanax tablets, a portion of a Methodone tablet, a plastic bag with white power believed to be mathamphetamine.
During an inventory of the car, Ellison said the interior had a chemical odor. Two bags were found in the rear of the vehicle that Ellison said contained the processes and ingredients used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. She said the bags were right behind the place where the child was sitting.
The adults are reportedly not the parents of the child, but were only babysitting her.
Mr. and Mrs. Pearson appeared in Sessions Court on Monday. Judge John Walton set bond at $7,500 each and ordered them to be back in court on Aug. 19 with their attorneys.