Kingsport police: Botched drug deal prompts aggravated assault, kidnapping

Rain Smith • Nov 5, 2010 at 12:07 PM

According to Kingsport police, a botched drug deal that ended with robbery has led to a drug dealer pointing a gun at one man's head — threatening to kill him — then a car chase down Stone Drive.

The alleged dealer, Arthur C. Hixon, 55, of 1795 Brown Springs Road, Greeneville, was arrested early Friday morning. He has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and possession of stolen property.

Arrest reports say police were alerted to the incidents by a call to central dispatch at 12:40 a.m. The caller said they were traveling in a Honda Civic on West Stone Drive and being chased by a Dodge Charger. He reported that one person in that car had previously pointed a gun at his head.

Police made contact with the vehicles near Clinchfield Street, speaking with occupants of both vehicles. The driver of the Charger, Hixon, allegedly refused to speak with officers about what had occurred, and denied having a weapon. Hixon then consented to a search of the vehicle, according to the report, with police discovering a loaded 9 mm within a storage area behind the driver's seat.

When a check of the weapon's serial number revealed it was stolen from Wise County, Va., Hixon was arrested. He, along with three passengers in his car, were then transported to the city jail for questioning. The original caller, Rustey J. Ferrell, 21, of 325 Stage Road, Kingsport, and two passengers of his vehicle were also brought to the police department.

The report says Ferrell admitted to previously traveling to a Boone's Creek bar, in an attempt to purchase pills. In the parking lot he entered the vehicle of a woman to buy the drugs, but during the exchange both he and the alleged seller were robbed. Along with the drugs, two robbers allegedly snatched the woman's purse, which contained $5,000 in cash.

According to Ferrell's account to police, he recognized one of the robbers, and told the woman where he may be located. Three hours later he allegedly received a call from her, relaying she had told her drug dealer, Hixon, about the money being stolen. She then asked Ferrell to meet them so they could locate the man he had recognized

Ferrell told police he agreed and met the woman, Hixon and two other individuals at a gas station on John B. Dennis Highway. They then traveled in separate cars to Model City Apartments, 1000 Stonegate Road, to try and locate the robbery suspect.

When he couldn't be found, according to the report, Hixon pulled a handgun. On the sidewalk of the apartments he allegedly held it to Ferrell's head, accused him of being involved in the robbery and threatened to kill him.

Ferrell told police that he offered to help Hixon find the man, and knew another place he may be located. Hixon then put the gun away and agreed to follow behind Ferrell's vehicle from another car. However, to keep Ferrell from, "taking off," Hixon allegedly demanded one of his cousins ride along in Ferrell's car.

Ferrell told police he and Hixon's cousin, Matthew L. Sturgill, 22, of 177 Bart Green Drive, apartment 17, entered his car and left Model City. When they reached Stone Drive, Ferrell says he attempted to flee from Hixon, who gave chase. Ferrell then called police from a cell phone, with the cars quickly being located and stopped.

The arrest report says a witness to the events corroborated Ferrell's account of Hixon pulling a gun. Sturgill also allegedly admitted to riding with Ferrell to keep him from, "getting away."

Hixon was booked into the Kingsport jail while the gun was placed in evidence. Sturgill was also arrested, charged with aggravated kidnapping.

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