Carter Co. deputy says X-ray revealed synthetic drugs hidden in woman's body after car theft, crash

John Thompson • Jan 31, 2012 at 8:39 AM

ELIZABETHTON — A deputy responding to a complaint about harassment in an apartment building at 1:20 a.m. Saturday saw an escalation of events including the alleged theft of a car, a crash and an unusual drug possession charge.

Carter County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Wayne Pritchard responded to the early morning harassment complaint at 135 Town View Estates. The complainant met Pritchard and said Jennifer Branch in Apartment 2 had been harassing her and she wanted it stopped.

Pritchard went to Apartment 2 and made contact with Jennifer Mae Branch, 25, 260 Steel Bridge Road, and another woman who identified herself as Amanda Graybeal. Graybeal said she did not have any identification with her. A records check indicated Branch was wanted on a violation of probation charge. Pritchard informed her she was under arrest and followed her upstairs to get some clothes she could take to jail with her.

As he turned to go back downstairs, he said Branch shut the bedroom door. When he turned and reopened the door, he found Branch attempting to open a door leading outside to a deck. He had to restrain Branch and apply handcuffs. He charged her with resisting arrest. He then escorted her to his cruiser.

Pritchard was obtaining more information from Branch after he had placed her in the cruiser when suddenly she started yelling that her car was being stolen. Pritchard turned and saw Graybeal driving out of the parking lot in a 1995 black Honda that Branch said was hers and that she had not given Graybeal permission to drive. She said she was unaware that Graybeal had the keys to the car. She said the woman was really Brandi Graybeal, not Amanda Graybeal.

Pritchard observed the car going north on Smalling Road but lost sight of it. After he turned east on Tenn. Highway 400 he was flagged down by a motorist who said a black car ran the stop sign at the intersection of Smalling Road and Highway 400 and almost struck him. He said the car was parked at Turkeytown Mall.

As Pritchard approached, he said the car accelerated, going through the grass behind the business and climbed up a bank to get on the highway. The car began traveling west on Highway 400 without its headlights on and with a flat left front tire.

After Pritchard got on Highway 400 he saw the car veer off the right side of the road at the intersection with Cripple Creek Loop and crash. The car came to a stop just before Garland Branch Road.

The driver was identified as Brandi Lynn Graybeal, 26, 218 Charlie Hicks Road, Jonesborough. He said she had slurred speech and appeared to have been drinking. A records check indicated she had three previous drunk driving charges and her license was revoked. Pritchard charged her with a fourth offense of DUI, a second offense of driving on a revoked license, theft over $1,000 and criminal impersonation. She was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after an inventory of the vehicle turned up two straws containing a white residue and a clear glass pipe with residue in it. He said these items were in Graybeal’s purse.

After being removed from the crash, Graybeal was transported to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment.

Pritchard reported that the medical staff at the hospital took a X-ray of Graybeal while treating her. He said the staff told him the X-ray revealed that Graybeal had a round container, a syringe and a lighter inside her vagina. The staff extracted the foreign objects and Pritchard said the container held a tan powder that tested positive for cocaine. He said Graybeal told him it was synthetic cocaine. It weighed 2.5 grams.

Pritchard then placed the additional charge of possession of Schedule II drug on Graybeal.

Both Graybeal and Branch are scheduled to answer the charges against them in Sessions Court on Feb. 6.

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