GATE CITY — New charges were filed against a Kingsport man who was arrested Tuesday for leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase through Scott County that injured two Virginia State Police troopers.
Jason T. Byrns, 33, was charged with possession of a Schedule II drug, possession of a Schedule IV drug, possession of marijuana and attempting to distribute drugs after a search of his vehicle reportedly turned up narcotics and an undisclosed amount of cash, Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said.
McClung said the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force was investigating the drug-related charges while state police are handling charges related to the pursuit.
Byrns is already being held without bond at the Duffield Regional Jail on attempted capital murder and felony evading arrest charges as a result of Tuesday’s incident that left a total of six vehicles wrecked and three officers injured, one of them seriously.
One of the officers, Trooper James C. Lawson, was listed in fair condition at Holston Valley Medical Center Wednesday afternoon following surgery, Wellmont spokesman Jim Wozniak said. Lawson had previously been listed in serious condition due to injuries he sustained.
Trooper Brian Hubbard was also injured during Tuesday’s pursuit, but was treated and released that evening.
The troopers were hurt after Byrns allegedly fled from a VSP license checking detail on East Carters Valley Road around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday.
Local authorities said Byrns drove through downtown Gate City at speeds estimated between 55 and 70 mph before topping 100 mph with officers in pursuit on Daniel Boone Road west of town.
At one point during the pursuit, Byrns allegedly rammed a state cruiser and a Scott County Sheriff’s Office vehicle before hitting two more law enforcement cars.
Authorities said Byrns wrecked his 2005 Kia Sedona in a creek along Daniel Boone Road after he allegedly rammed Lawson’s vehicle, causing it to hit a parked truck head-on.
Witnesses who live along Daniel Boone Road said Lawson’s crash sounded “like a bomb going off.”
One witness said the impact from Lawson’s cruiser moved the parked dump truck it hit nearly 10 feet from its original location.
The witness said her family ran to the scene of Lawson’s wreck after hearing the impact and described the crash, and related chase, as a frightening experience.
Hubbard reportedly wrecked while responding to the pursuit when his vehicle slid off the road and struck a bridge before coming to rest in a creek.
Lawson had to be transported to the hospital for treatment by Med-Flight.
Byrns did not receive any injuries from his wreck and was immediately transported to the Scott County Sheriff’s Office for questioning before being booked into the regional jail.