Police say knife-wielding Kingsport man steals his mother's purse, flees from officers

Rain Smith • May 21, 2013 at 11:34 PM

A knife-wielding Kingsport man faces multiple charges after allegedly demanding money from his 75-year-old mother — saying he'd kill himself if she didn't comply — then fleeing with her purse, which led to a police pursuit.After driving over curbs and running multiple red lights, he returned to his mother's residence, according to police, and attempted to break into her home. Following a brief struggle with officers Jason McClellan, 42, was apprehended and booked into the Sullivan County Jail. The incident began shortly after 10 p.m. Monday, when officers were dispatched to a "disturbance involving a knife" at a residence on Gaines Street. A Sullivan County Sheriff's Office arrest report says a responding deputy encountered the suspect's vehicle, a green van, speeding away from the residence. The deputy reports turning around to pursue the vehicle on Orebank Road, with the van making a right onto Memorial Boulevard. When the officer activated the squad car's lights and siren, the driver allegedly accelerated, turning right onto East Center then right onto North Eastman Road.

Police say the driver, later identified as McClellan, was blocked by traffic as he approached Jack White Drive, prompting him to turn left and drive onto the median's curbing. He allegedly drove through a red light at the intersection and continued to East Stone Drive, heading eastbound on 11W. At the traffic signal at Indian Trail he was again blocked by other motorists, according to police, and once again drove over curbing to run a red light. McClellan is alleged to have continued traveling east on 11W — swerving his van "back and forth" while police pursued — before exiting at Orebank Road and going back to his mother's home on Gaines Street. At the residence, McClellan bailed from his vehicle and ran. Police say they followed to find him attempting to get inside through the home's back door, using his elbow to break the glass out of a window. After McClellan ignored multiple police commands, officers took control of him after releasing a K9. A female passenger was found in the van he had used to flee police. She allegedly said McClellan had threatened that officers would have to kill him. Interviews with McClellan's mother reportedly revealed that he had came to her house wanting cash, but she had none to give. He then allegedly used a knife to stab the floor and poke himself in the chest, telling his mother he'd kill himself if he didn't get some money. McClellan is alleged to have then grabbed his mother's purse and run with it to the van, igniting the chase with police. Following his arrest, police located the stolen purse in the vehicle, along with a small amount of opium and marijuana. McClellan is charged with theft, aggravated burglary, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speeding, driving left of center, running red lights, evading arrest and resisting arrest. The discovery of the narcotics in his vehicle prompted additional charges of possession of schedule I drugs and simple possession/casual exchange.

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