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Hawkins County man caught after trying 'Hazzard' style escape

Jeff Bobo • Aug 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville police apprehended a Hawkins County man Sunday who’d been on the run since Thursday when he allegedly led police on a high-speed chase and attempted to jump a creek “Dukes of Hazzard” style when his unwilling passenger slammed the car into park.

The chase began around 3:45 p.m. Thursday when Rogersville Police Department Officer James Hammonds recognized Brandon Phillip Surplis, 19, 304 Harmon Drive, Rogersville, driving a car in the Wal-Mart parking lot on Route 66. Surplis was wanted for failure to appear in court on a violation of community corrections charge, and Hammonds also had knowledge that Surplis’ driver’s license was revoked.

“Upon activating my blue lights and siren, the vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed out of the parking lot onto Main Street, running the stop sign and nearly striking two vehicles,” Hammonds stated in the warrant. “The vehicle continued to travel east on Main Street, passing cars and running cars out of the roadway.”

Hammonds said he observed a struggle inside the car between the driver and passenger, and Surplis smoked the tires as he turned onto Scenic Drive. On Scenic Drive Hammonds saw the passenger side door open and the passenger attempt to jump out of the moving car before she was apparently pulled back inside.

Traveling south on Scenic, the driver of the vehicle allegedly ran a stop sign at the Locust Street intersection then veered into an open field and headed toward an embankment above a creek.

“I don’t know if he’s seen too many episodes of the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ or what, but he thought he was going to jump that creek,” Rogersville Police Chief Doug Nelson said Monday. “He might have made it too, but his girlfriend stuck the car in park before they hit the embankment, and the car just kind of skidded over and nosed into the creek. He took off running, and when we got there she was calling for help from inside the car.

“We got her out and she wasn’t injured, but she was extremely scared. She definitely didn’t want to be involved in a high-speed chase.”

The female passenger told police she “begged” Surplis to stop the car and let her out, but he refused. A search of the car allegedly revealed Surplis to be in possession of a 380-caliber handgun found on the floorboard.

Surplis escaped from the wrecked car on foot but was picked up by Hammonds Sunday night. Surplis faces numerous charges including driving on a revoked license fourth offense, felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment, failure to obey a stop sign, and illegal possession of a weapon.

He was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and ordered held in jail without bond.

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