Around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday CHPD Assistant Chief Roddy Miller arrested an employee of the local Hutchinson Sealing plant who was passed out behind the wheel at Minor’s Market on Highway 11-W allegedly in possession of a large quantity of hydrocodone pills, alprazolam pills and cash.
Church Hill police have been receiving complaints of drug activity in and around the Hutchinson Sealing plant for about a year.
Miller said he was initially unable to wake up the man, later identified as Laney Andrew Holmes, 30, 3322 Stanley Valley Road Lot 2, Rogersville.
With the help of Church Hill EMS personnel, Miller finally woke Holmes up.
“I patted Mr. Holmes down and found a small container of 35 pills which appeared to be alprazolam in his pants pocket,” Miller said. “I placed Mr. Holmes under arrest for possession of Schedule IV drugs and public intoxication and transported him to the Hawkins County Jail for booking.”
Holmes was searched again at the jail where another 71.5 blue pills believed to be hydrocodone were allegedly found in his sock. Police also seized $2,620 that was found in Holmes’ wallet.
“Mr. Holmes stated he worked the previous night at Hutchinson Sealing System,” Miller said. “Hutchinson Sealing is a plant inside the city limits of Church Hill, and during the past year we have received complaints from both employees and people who live in the neighborhood about possible drug activity at and around the plant.”
Holmes was charged with possession of Schedule III narcotics with intent to deliver, possession of Schedule IV narcotics with intent to deliver and public intoxication. He is scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Sessions Court Monday morning.
In an unrelated case, around 7 p.m. Wednesday CHPD Officer Dustin Dean was dispatched to a complaint about a car possibly on fire with a person unconscious inside on the access road behind Groomer’s Corner on South Central Avenue.
Dean said that when he arrived on the scene he observed a dark-colored Honda billowing smoke.
“I observed the male slumped over in the driver’s seat and his foot was on the gas pedal which was almost to the floor,” Dean said. “After several attempts to wake the driver, I pushed him to the side and cut off the vehicle. After several minutes the subject finally woke up enough to talk. I asked him three different times for his driver’s license, and each time he mumbled some type of response that I could not understand.”
Dean said that when he asked the driver where he was at he replied, “Downtown Kingsport.”
The driver was identified as Howard Hardyway Ward, 42, 1189 Millers Bluff Road, Surgoinsville.
Dean said he asked Ward if he knew the date and time.
Ward reportedly responded, “I have no idea. It’s been a long one.”
Dean then advised Ward he was in Church Hill.
Ward reportedly replied, “How the (expletive) did I get here? The last thing I remember was being in Kingsport.”
Ward denied having any type of medication in his possession, but a search allegedly revealed him to be in possession of a pill bottle in his pocket containing 32 Xanax pills.
According to the label that prescription had been filled the day before for 130 pills.
Ward then allegedly admitted he’d taken his Suboxone and his Xanax during the day as prescribed.
Ward then reportedly performed poorly on a field sobriety test, but refused to submit to a blood test.
He was charged with DUI and violation of the implied consent law, and released on bond early Thursday morning.