ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Police Department arrested an 18-year-old Kingsport man Friday after he was found at the wreck of a pickup truck that had been reported stolen a day earlier.
Michael Paul Bartlett Jr., 118 Patrick Henry Drive, Kingsport, was charged with theft over $10,000 and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is scheduled to answer the charges in Sessions Court on Oct. 18.
Bartlett was accused of stealing the 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck from the driveway of the residence of Robert Stewart at 202 Holly Lane on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. The ignition key had reportedly been left in the driver’s side door panel. Stewart said a Dell laptop computer with check book, a debit card, baseball glove, cooler and tie down straps were in the truck.
The truck was found wrecked on the graveled potion of Dennis Cove Road about three miles from where the paved section of the road ends.
Deputy Larry Vaughn of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department investigated the wreck. He said the truck was southbound and was negotiating a curve to the left when the vehicle went off the right side of the road and struck a tree on the right front fender. It came to a stop leaning against two trees. Vaughn said there were skid marks in the gravel for approximately 50 feet before the truck left the road.
Vaughn said when he arrived at the scene of the accident he found Bartlett, an 18-year-old woman and three boys between the ages of 16 and 17 standing on the road next to the truck.
Investigator Kirk Carrier of the Elizabethton Police Department went to the scene. During interviews with the adults and juveniles he said Bartlett admitted to taking the truck and driving it around Elizabethton, Johnson City and Carter County at various times until they eventually crashed in Dennis Cove.
Carrier said one of the boys admitted he was with Bartlett when he stole the truck. The boy was also charged with theft over $10,000 and will answer the charge in Juvenile Court.