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Press files open records request in Crumley pursuit, crash

September 27th, 2011 11:27 pm by Rex Barber and Becky Campbell

An official open records request for materials of the pursuit and crash last week involving Joe Crumley, a former district attorney general, has been filed by the Johnson City Press with Jonesborough Public Safety.
The request was filed in person at the Jonesborough Public Safety office around noon Monday. Public Safety Chief Matt Hawkins was asked to contact the Press regarding the request but as of the end of business Tuesday had not done so.
Crumley, who was district attorney general from 1998-2006, was stopped by Jonesborough officers just after noon on Sept. 21 after nearly striking a patrol vehicle head on in the 100 block of West Main Street, according to an interview with Hawkins last week.
Crumley led officers out of town onto Tenn. Highway 81 South, where he was stopped after reportedly running several vehicles off the road. Once stopped, Crumley’s vehicle lurched forward, striking a JPS vehicle involved in the pursuit. Not much damage was caused and no injuries were reported in relation to the crash, which was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The pursuit was brief and Crumley was taken into custody. About an hour after the incident, Crumley became ill and was taken to Johnson City Medical Center.
The investigation by JPS into the pursuit was ongoing, Hawkins said last week. He said his office could not really continue the investigation until Crumley was no longer in the hospital.
Criminal charges were pending in the case, Hawkins said.
Hawkins said he was withholding the report and in-car video of the pursuit, because there were specific items pertaining to the investigation contained in both items.
Craig Ford, operations manager/public safety director for Jonesborough, said not releasing an incident report at this point in the investigation is nothing unusual and has nothing to do with the fact Crumley is the subject of the investigation.
“That’s standard, irregardless of the circumstances,” Ford said. “That’s one of those things that’s going to be typical.
“Once charges are filed and a person is arrested, then it becomes public record.”
Ford said Crumley’s prior position as district attorney general has no bearing on what his department does in the case.
“I can assure you we’re not treating his circumstances different than we would anybody else’s,” Ford said.
When a person in jail requires medical treatment at a hospital, the county is responsible for the hospital bill as well as staffing a guard during the hospital stay.
“Say you have a person who’s drunk and causes a traffic fatality but they’re also seriously injured. That person isn’t going to be charged until they are released,” from the hospital, he said.
Ford said it’s also not uncommon for the county to ask a judge to release an inmate temporarily for that very reason.
If charges are filed after Crumley’s treatment is over, it is unlikely the 1st Judicial District attorney general’s office would participate in the prosecution. Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks said that decision would be up to his boss, Tony Clark. Clark was handling other matters and could not be reached for comment.

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