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Couple arrested after alleged gun threat during highway incident

Jeff Bobo • Sep 12, 2017 at 5:30 PM

MOUNT CARMEL — A Hawkins County couple were charged with aggravated assault after allegedly threatening to shoot a motorist Friday morning after forcing that driver off the highway.

The victim told Mount Carmel Police Department Officer Grady White that around 7:40 a.m, she was traveling eastbound in the right lane on Highway 11-W near the Independence Avenue intersection when a white, 4-door Malibu swerved into her lane, forcing her off the highway onto the shoulder to avoid a collision.

“(The victim) stated she re-entered the roadway, moving to the left lane, and as she began to move forward again the white Malibu had slowed down and the driver’s window was down,” White stated in his report. “(The victim) stated she rolled her window down because she thought the Malibu driver was going to apologize to her. Instead the female driver and male passenger were cursing at her.”

“The male was grabbing at his right hip area, and she saw the male’s hand on the butt of a gun,” White said.

The victim stated that the male leaned over to the driver’s side of their vehicle and asked her if she wanted to be shot.

The victim then reduced speed suddenly to get out of gun range, dropped behind the Malibu, got the license plate number and called 911.

Following the incident, the victim was presented a photo array by the MCPD and picked the couple out of 12 photos. They were identified as Walter Horace Hart, 39, and Becky Lynn Hart, 35, both of 538 Elm St., Mount Carmel.

The Harts were arrested Sunday shortly 2 p.m.

MCPD Assistant Chief George Copas said that upon being interviewed, the Harts admitted to running the victim off the highway, but denied threatening her, stating instead that the victim was irate with them.

Neither the Harts nor the victim could offer an explanation for the initial swerving incident which forced the victim off the road.

A search of the Harts’ home resulted in the discovery of a BB pistol, which Copas said looks like a real firearm, in Mr. Hart’s dresser drawer.

Mr. Hart was charged with one count of aggravated assault stemming from the alleged gun threat. Mrs. Hart was charged with two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly being party to the gun threat and for the initial swerving incident.

Both were arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court, and a Nov. 7 preliminary hearing was scheduled.                                                                                                                               

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