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Escapee charged with assaulting Sullivan County officers, resisting arrest

Rain Smith • Aug 9, 2018 at 10:23 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — A wanted Florida man who escaped from private transport guards at the Kingsport welcome center now faces charges in Sullivan County, where police say he fought with deputies as he was captured Wednesday afternoon.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 4:30 p.m., Rodolfo Lopezchavez Vazquez was found on Galloway Road attempting to hide in an abandoned mobile home. Vazquez reportedly didn’t comply with police commands and attempted to force his way out of the residence, leading to a scuffle with officers before he was taken into custody.

As of Thursday morning, Vazquez was held in the Blountville jail without bond. In Sullivan County, he’s charged with two counts of simple assault, escape, resisting arrest and being a fugitive from justice.

Vazquez still has to answer to charges of credit card forgery in Lee County, Fla. He was being taken there on Tuesday night by Inmate Services Corporation, a privately run fugitive transport company out of West Memphis, Arkansas.

According to records at the Kingsport Police Department, when the guards stopped at the Interstate 26 welcome center in Kingsport, Vazquez asked to use the restroom. He was reportedly shackled by ankle cuffs connected to wrist restraints, but one wrist was freed so he could go to the bathroom.

Guards told police that “at some point, Vazquez was able to leave the bathroom and flee the rest area.” He was reportedly spotted scaling a fence at the back of the property, but a KPD K-9 brought to the scene could not track him.

By early Wednesday afternoon, Vazquez had still not been located. Though authorities didn’t consider him to be dangerous, Rock Springs Elementary and Sullivan South High School went on lockdown. The facilities, which are located near the I-26 rest area where Vazquez escaped, dismissed at their regular time.

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