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Disturbance at Church Hill apartment leads to arrest of unregistered sex offender

Jeff Bobo • Feb 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — In responding to a disturbance complaint at an apartment in Church Hill early Friday morning, police discovered an unregistered convicted sex offender who was also wanted on several charges relating to a high-speed chase in November.

Church Hill police officers found Johnny Kay Seals, 37, 116 Highland Ave., No. 8, Church Hill, hiding in the bathroom when they answered the disturbance complaint at his apartment shortly after midnight Friday.

A computer check revealed Seals to be wanted by Rogersville police on charges of felony reckless endangerment, evading arrest and driving on a suspended license stemming from a Nov. 3 incident.

On Nov. 3, Officer James Hammonds with the Rogersville Police Department was dispatched to investigate a vehicle whose female passenger had attempted to use a debit card at the Eastman Credit Union. The debit card had been reported lost, and the woman was wearing a suspicious hood over her head, according to reports.

Upon stopping the vehicle on College Street, Hammonds spoke to the driver, later identified as Seals.

Seals asked Hammonds to back up his patrol car because Seals was stopped on a hill and had a bad transmission.

Hammonds said when he went to back up to let Seals move to level roadway, Seals fled the scene and a chase ensued. Hammonds stated in an arrest warrant that Seals led him on a chase to Highway 11-W and then north on Route 66. Hammonds said he discontinued the chase when Seals nearly struck several oncoming vehicles on a curve on Route 66.

Seals’ vehicle was found abandoned near an old logging road a short time later.

Upon being arrested by Church Hill police Friday, Seals was questioned about his convicted sex offender status. He’d been convicted of sexual battery in 1994.

Seals told officers he didn’t live at the apartment and was only a guest, but the landlord stated that Seals’ name was on the lease and he’d been there for three months. A convicted sex offender has 48 hours to register with police when moving to a new residence.

He was charged with violation of the sex offender registry. Deputies also served Seals Friday with a petition to revoke his probation. He was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and remained lodged in the Hawkins County Jail on $5,000 bond.

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