Jeremiah J. Barkley, 41, of 221 Country Lane, Lot 5, admitted to consuming alcohol but successfully completed field sobriety tests. He reportedly told police he was talking on his cell phone while driving and had not seen the officers in the roadway.
According to Kingsport Police Department records, the initial wreck occurred near mile marker 6 at about 7:40 Sunday night. A westbound car drifted left and struck the cable, then was then hit by a following motorist.Though both vehicles suffered extensive damage and had to be towed from the scene, no one was injured.
According to a KPD press release, officers had to temporarily close Interstate 26 and had multiple cruisers on the scene with emergency lights activated. Flashing signal devices, known as light pucks, were also along the stretch of road ahead of the wreck. Officers directing traffic onto the Rock Springs exit were wearing reflective vests and carrying flashlights with illuminated orange traffic cones.
At about 8:15 p.m., Barkley approached in a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado. He allegedly failed to yield, follow traffic instructions or slow down, blasting past officers at about 50 mph.
"All three officers waved frantically in an attempt to stop him without success, and all three had to take last-second evasive action in order to avoid being struck by the pickup," states a KPD press release. "One officer lost control of his flashlight, which was then run over and destroyed by the pickup. Finally, the fourth and final officer was able to get Mr. Barkley stopped just before the crash scene."
Barkley is charged with three counts of felony reckless endangerment, vandalism under $1,000 and failure to have insurance. As of Monday morning, he remained jailed and was awaiting arraignment.