Rusty Shane Webb, 26, 114 Lipe Lane, Rogersville, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Hawkins County Sessions Court to speeding 176 mph in a 55 mph zone and misdemeanor evading arrest, which was reduced from the original charge of felony evading arrest. An additional charge of failure to show proof of insurance was dismissed.
Webb was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and fined $550. Rogersville Police Officer Travis Fields, who arrested Webb, said the points added to Webb’s driving record will result in a suspension of his driver’s license.
Fields told the Times-News Thursday the plea agreement was probably too generous, but he signed off on it based on Webb’s lack of a previous criminal record, a sincere display of remorse, and Webb’s status as a single parent of a small child.
A felony conviction would most likely have resulted in jail time.
“His attorney tried to get me to agree to lowering it even further so his license wouldn’t get suspended,” Fields said. “I said, ‘Look, the felony charge is being reduced to a misdemeanor and that’s a gift. If you aren’t satisfied with that, we can send it to the grand jury.’
“He knows he made a seriously stupid decision and I believe he’s genuinely sorry. He’s raising a small child by himself, and he realizes there’s more at stake here than losing his driver’s license and his motorcycle.”
Fields added that the department could still have sought to seize the motorcycle, but he didn’t think the seizure would hold up on appeal due to the felony charge being reduced to a misdemeanor.
Webb was arrested in the early morning hours of June 22 as a result of a Rogersville Police Department investigation into drag racing on 11-W between Park Boulevard and the Route 70 intersection.
The racers reportedly staged at a parking lot on Park Boulevard near the 11-W intersection, and police used an informant to counter the racers’ suspected use of a police scanner to detect when police weren’t in the area.
Fields reportedly observed Webb doing a wheelie on 11-W at 80 mph, attempted a traffic stop, and then clocked Webb at 135 mph during a high-speed pursuit before losing contact. After his arrest, however, Webb admitted to hitting 176 mph on his 2003 Yamaha.
Webb also told Fields he’d built the motorcycle to race on the Talladega, Ala., road course.
Fields lost sight of the motorcycle as it approached Surgoinsville. He found out later that the bike ran out of gas near the Surgoinsville Market at the Carters Valley Road intersection.
A short time later, a resident of the nearby Whispering Oaks subdivision called 911 to report a suspicious person walking in the road. When Surgoinsville police arrived, they found Webb hiding in the weeds near the road.
Police found the motorcycle hidden in weeds not far away.