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Drunk driver drove wrong way on Interstate 81, Sullivan County deputies say

RAIN SMITH, Kingsport Times-News • Updated Apr 18, 2017 at 12:46 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Head-on collisions were narrowly avoided early Sunday on Interstate 81, according to deputies, as a drunk driver traveled the wrong direction and refused to stop, forcing other motorists to make evasive maneuvers.

An incident report at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office lists the suspect as Charles Phillippie, 56, of 215 Brown Circle, Blountville. He was arrested and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, driving under the influence and having open containers in his vehicle.

About 1:20 a.m., dispatchers were alerted to an SUV heading northbound in the southbound lanes of I-81. A deputy responded to the area to find the vehicle near exit 66 and still traveling the wrong way.

The deputy activated emergency equipment and followed the driver, later identified as Philippe. Over the next three miles, he refused to stop, according to an arrest report, and at two separate times "proceeded head-on towards two different vehicles causing them to swerve out of the way."

More about the arrest from the Kingsport Times-News.

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