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Alleged stop 'to roll a joint' prompts 100 mph pursuit on 11-W, one arrest

Rain Smith • Jul 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

A Jonesborough man was arrested Thursday morning in Hawkins County after allegedly leading police on a 100 mph pursuit on Highway 11-W; once overshooting a turn and driving through a median.

A deputy reports becoming suspicious of the car when it was observed exiting the parking lot of a business that was closed. A juvenile passenger in the vehicle would later report they had stopped, "to roll a joint," then abruptly fled after seeing a patrol car.

According to a Hawkins County Sheriff's Office arrest report, a deputy was traveling east on 11-W in Surgoinsville at approximately 2:19 a.m. While approaching the Dollar General, 3394 Highway 11-W, a 1998 Nissan Sentra exited the parking lot and turned to head the opposite direction.

The deputy reports turning around to follow the westbound vehicle, with the car then turning around to go east. Quickly realizing the Sentra was pulling away at a high rate of speed, the squad car's emergency lights and siren were activated.

According to the report, the car reached approximately 100 mph and refused to stop. Suspecting the occupants may have burglarized the Dollar General, the deputy continued his pursuit and radioed for other units to assist.

After about three and a half miles the Sentra allegedly attempted to turn left onto Cross Valley Road, but traveled through the median, instead. It briefly headed back west on 11-W, according to the deputy, "then took an immediate sharp turn across the highway and went eastbound again."

The reporting officer reports the pursuit, joined by other police, continued for about eight and half miles; through Church Hill and to the Mount Carmel/Kingsport city limits. The vehicle then stopped and the driver was taken into custody.

The passenger, a 17-year-old male, allegedly told police he had told the driver to stop several times, fearing they would crash.

"The juvenile also said they were at the Dollar General store to 'roll a joint,' but pulled away when they saw law enforcement in the area," reads the report. Police say no marijuana was found in the car, nor on either of the occupants.

The driver is identified as Johnathan Wayne Edwards, age redacted from the report, of 1182 Old Stage Route 34, lot No. 1. He was arrested and charged with speeding, felony evading arrest and reckless endangerment.

Police say a check of Edwards' license revealed it was revoked for failure to file insurance in a vehicle accident that occurred in 2000. The report says that since that time he has three prior convictions for driving on revoked

Edwards was additionally charged with his fourth offense of driving on a revoked license and violation of light law. Police say one of his Sentra's headlights weren't working properly.

The juvenile was held at the Sheriff's Office substation in Church Hill, then released to his father.

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