Kingsport Times-News: Alleged vehicle thief crashes on I-26 in Kingsport
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Alleged vehicle thief crashes on I-26 in Kingsport

Rain Smith • Dec 26, 2018 at 12:44 PM

KINGSPORT — A man in a stolen truck allegedly led police on a wild Christmas night pursuit, ending after he drove through a fence to enter Interstate 26, got stuck in the median and fought with officers in lanes of traffic.

Justyn A. Peterson, 39, faces several charges in the incident including felony reckless endangerment. According to records at the Kingsport Police Department, central dispatch was alerted to the theft shortly after 11 p.m.

A resident in the 400 block of West Carters Valley Road said he heard the engine start on his 2003 Ford F-250. When he went outside he saw his truck — which had a key to the ignition in the visor and a heat pump in the bed — being driven away from his residence.

A patrol officer soon spotted the Ford northbound on Fairview Avenue. A stop was attempted near the intersection of Grandview Street, but the driver, later identified as Peterson, made an abrupt left and drove through a chain-link fence, entering westbound I-26.

With two officers in pursuit, Peterson lost control of the truck, fishtailed into the median and became stuck. As officers left their cruisers and approached on foot, Peterson reportedly jumped from the Ford and ran into the eastbound lanes of the interstate.

Officers gave chase and took Peterson to the ground, but he continued to actively resist before being subdued. After being transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries, he was booked into the city jail.

Peterson, address listed as Winamac, Ind., is charged with theft over $10,000, vandalism, evading arrest, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment. He was also driving on a suspended license.

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