Deputies said the pursuit lasted 20 to 25 minutes, with speeds reaching 110 mph with the driver moving into the oncoming lane of traffic at times.
Charles Williams, 55, was charged with driving under the influence, aggravated assault, evading arrest and simple possession of a schedule VI drug. Mark Alan Briscoe, 53, was charged with a schedule VI drug violation. Both men were taken to the Carter County Detention Center.
The incident began around 1:30 a.m. Monday. Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Malone said he was headed to Weaver Hollow Road for a warrant service. Deputies Cody Farley and Mckenly Berry were also participating in the warrant service. Along the way, Berry noticed a silver van stopped at a stop sign that had a burned out tail light. Berry ran the license tag on the van and learned the tag did not match the vehicle.
Berry then attempted to stop the van. The vehicle did not stop for him and instead headed back to the Elizabethton Highway at speeds the deputies thought were excessive. The chase reached Tenn. Highway 67 and headed toward Johnson City.
Malone was able to get in front of the van in an attempt to get it to slow down. Malone said the driver of the van did not slow down, but hit his cruiser with the van several times.
Thomas Gray, public information officer for the sheriff’s department, reported that the deputies pursued the van along Interstate 26 through Washington County all the way to the Sullivan County line. The vehicle was stopped near Exit 10 on Eastern Star Road. The Tennessee Highway Patrol assisted in the pursuit by deploying spike strips near Exit 13.
Gray said there was damage to both sides of Malone’s cruiser and on the front bumper. No deputies were injured. An estimate of the damage to the cruiser was not immediately available.
After the van was finally stopped, Farley reported finding a small bag of marijuana in the passenger side floor board, leading to the charge against Briscoe.
Berry said he detected an odor of alcohol on Williams. He said Williams also admitted to taking a hit of methamphetamine just before the pursuit. Berry said Williams also was wanted on several outstanding warrants.