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Records request denied in former DA Crumley pursuit/crash

September 30th, 2011 5:45 pm by Rex Barber

The Town of Jonesborough has officially declined, at this time, to release video and written records pertaining to the Sept. 21 pursuit and crash involving former District Attorney General Joe Crumley, citing case law and legal opinion.
The Johnson City Press submitted an open records request to the Jonesborough Department of Public Safety on Monday asking for in-car video and the incident report of the pursuit and crash.
The records denial was sent via email Friday evening from Jonesborough attorney James R. Wheeler with the law firm Wheeler & Seeley.
“This denial is consistent with our ongoing policy of not releasing the contents of criminal investigation files until the matter is resolved in court,” Wheeler wrote. “We treat all criminal investigation files the same and the Distric Attorney has recommended we continue to do 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 East Main Street, according to a previous interview with Jonesborough Public Safety Chief Matt Hawkins.
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.
Wheeler said in denying the records request he used an opinion by the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counselor dealing with requests for records relevant to a pending or contemplated criminal action.
“Based on that opinion and the case law cited in that opinion, at this time, the Town of Jonesborough must deny your request,” Wheeler wrote.

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