Johnson City Press: Man arrested following pursuit through Elizabethton and Hampton, causing damage to drive-in movie theater
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Man arrested following pursuit through Elizabethton and Hampton, causing damage to drive-in movie theater

John Thompson • Jul 13, 2019 at 12:08 AM

ELIZABETHTON — While most of the interest in a Thursday afternoon police pursuit was focused on a a crash by a Carter County deputy into the State Line Drive-in, a police report said the man who was being pursued has been taken into custody on several charges.

Keith Shane McNabb, 28, 746 Cash Hollow Road, Johnson City, was charged with reckless endangerment (no weapon, no injury), evading arrest, driving while license was revoked or suspended, evading arrest by motor vehicle, driving on revoked fifth offense, improper display of registration and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The incident began around 12:17 p.m. Thursday, when Sgt. Doug Combs of the Elizabethton Police Department reported that he noticed a maroon and gold Chevrolet pickup truck traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 19E. Combs said a check on the license plate indicated it belonged on a 2005 Dodge. With that information, Combs activated his emergency lights. Combs said the truck failed to stop and continued going south at the posted speed.

Combs said he turned on his siren. He said the truck then merged not the right lane and made a right turn into the parking lot of Betsytowne Shopping Center and “accelerated to a recklessly high rate of speed,’ heading toward State Line Road. Combs said the vehicle went through a section of caution tape and into the yard of a residence.

At that point, Combs said he discontinued his emergency equipment and notified the Carter County 911 that he was terminating his attempt to stop the vehicle. He said he saw the vehicle go through the yard at a high rate of speed and then get onto State Line Road. Still going at a high rate of speed southbound.

At that time, Sgt. Michael Malone, the first Carter County Sheriff’s Department officer on the scene, spotted the vehicle on Highway 19E. Malone activated his emergency lights, but said the driver of the pickup truck continued going south at a high rate of speed, through the double bridges, heading into Hampton.

He said the truck turned left onto First Avenue, nearly striking several vehicles. Malone continued to follow as the pickup turned left onto Swimming Pool Road.

The pursuit continued onto U.S. Highway 321. Malone said a passenger in the truck jumped out. Malone continued to follow the fleeing truck. He said the truck turned at Cates Corner and then to Dennis Cove Road, then turned onto Crook Street.

He said the truck then veered left and hit a pole with chain that was blocking the parking lot of First Baptist Church. Malone said the truck continued on to the next church and then turned onto Church Street. Malone said the truck then crossed U.S. Highway 19E and entered Rittertown Road. Malone said the driver went into a yard and then fled on foot.

Deputies then chased the driver on foot and were able to catch him in the yard of 943 Rittertown Road. The driver was identified as McNabb. Malone said a search of the truck. He said a hypodermic needle was found inside the vehicle, along with three empty holsters and .380 ammunition.

One of the deputies responding to the pursuit, Caleb Rojek, became involved in an accident on U.S. Highway 19E that caused his cruiser to go out of control and crash into a section of the State Line Drive-in. The owner of the theater, Andrew Wetzel, was hit by the cruiser, but Wetzel was reported to be uninjured.

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