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Johnson City police: Kingsport man hid behind restaurant after crashing on I-26 exit ramp

Staff Report • Aug 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

A Kingsport man with a history of traffic violations ran away from a motorcycle crash Sunday on a Johnson City exit ramp off Interstate 26, but police found him hiding behind a nearby restaurant, police said in a news release.

Joshua A. Simpson, 30, 1317 Harrison Ave., Kingsport, was arrested after police were called about 6:30 p.m. to the motorcycle crash at the westbound North Roan Street exit ramp. He had fled on foot, but police searched the area and soon found him behind Harbor House, 2510 N. Roan St., police said.

Checking records, police learned that Simpson was classified as a habitual motor offender.

Simpson was charged with driving while restrictions in effect (habitual motor offender) and leaving the scene of an accident. He was jailed in the Washington County Detention Center on $6,000 bond pending a Sessions Court appearance this afternoon.

Simpson was previously held as a state inmate in the Unicoi County Jail from May 2009 to August 2010, when he was transferred to the Morgan County Correctional Complex. Simpson was housed in the Unicoi County Jail on an aggravated assault charge from Sullivan County which stemmed from an incident that occurred in Kingsport in December 2005.

According to previous reports, Simpson was tied to a 2010 investigation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation involving former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris, which stemmed from an incident that occurred at Rock Creek Park in Erwin.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley previously said Simpson was on the county and the county's 911 payrolls during his time as an inmate in Unicoi County. Hensley said after learning that Simpson was to be transferred to the Morgan County Correctional Complex, he sent letters to the county's mayor and 911 director requesting that Simpson be removed from the payrolls.

In October 2011, following the TBI investigation, Harris was indicted on 10 felony charges by a Unicoi County grand jury. None of the charges was related to incidents involving Simpson. After three failed attempts at convictions — two mistrials and a mid-trial dismissal — the charges against Harris were dropped.

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