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Man facing attempted murder charges after truck strikes house

Rick Wagner • Dec 1, 2018 at 2:20 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A Sullivan County man stands charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder after allegedly hitting an occupied house with his vehicle, causing a room to collapse early Saturday morning. 

Authorities said the man, Robert Wright Jr., has a history of alleged violence toward at least some of the people who were inside the residence, which is near his home, where he was arrested about six hours after the incident. 

Wright was charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated assault because four victims — two adults and two children — were inside the house, said Lt. Andy Seabolt, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

The Red Cross is assisting the victims, Seabolt said.

Seabolt said in a news release that at 12:24 a.m. Saturday, “Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a 911 call from a resident in the 5400 block of Bloomingdale Road. The caller advised that the walls in the living room of her home had collapsed and believed that her neighbor had struck her home with his vehicle.”

That section of Bloomingdale Road has a Blountville mailing address and is not far from Highway 11-W.

When officers arrived at the scene, Seabolt said, “tire tracks were observed going from the residence of Robert Wright Jr., 47, 5359 Bloomingdale Road, to the victims’ home. A bumper and other debris from the vehicle that struck the residence was present outside the home that was struck. Earlier in the evening, prior to the vehicle striking the home, Robert Wright Jr. was observed by one of the victims in their driveway; however, Wright left the driveway. The victim stated that he heard Wright making threats that he was going to kill them tonight.”

The two houses appear to be separated by another residence and property in between them. 

Seabolt said that the people who were inside the home that was struck have had numerous run-ins with Wright, who has threatened to kill them and pulled a gun on them. Wright was arrested Oct. 2  on two counts of aggravated assault against two of them.

Officers observed damage to Wright’s truck “consistent with the debris that was left at the scene,” Seabolt said.

Police took Wright into custody about 6 a.m.

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