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Hawkins deputies participate in two stolen vehicle high speed chases within 12 hours

Jeff Bobo • Updated Feb 5, 2019 at 1:02 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office had a busy Monday night and Tuesday morning, participating in two high speed chases, both of which ended in crashes, and the second of which ended with an arrest.

Around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, the HCSO responded to a report of a Toyota pickup being stolen in the 5000 block of Carters Valley Road near Church Hill. 

The pickup was located by deputies and a pursuit took place, ending in Surgoinsville on Creek Road when officers successfully performed a “PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver.”  

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said, “The deputy sheriff attempted to stop the vehicle and it fled. The pursuit traveled several miles on several different roads in Hawkins County. The vehicle attempted to make a turn onto Creek Road in Surgoinsville, at which time it was struck by HCSO vehicles and was blocked in by several units after attempting to flee again.”

The driver was arrested and identified as Paul Randall Hunley Jr., 34, 1724 Goshen Valley Road, Church Hill.

Hunley was charged with possession of stolen property and numerous other traffic violations.

At the time of his arrest, Hunley was wanted for a probation violation stemming from a guilty plea on Nov. 28 in Hawkins County Sessions Court for simple exchange of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He had been sentenced to 30 days in jail and 11 months and 30 days on probation in exchange for that guilty plea. A probation violation warrant was issued on Jan. 14.

Investigators have not yet determined if Hunley is a suspect in an earlier auto theft and high speed chase that began around 10:50 p.m. Monday when a 2003 Ford Mustang was stolen in Church Hill from the KenJo Market parking lot on Silver Lake Road at the Highway 11-W intersection.

The Mustang was spotted by the HCSO on Old Union Road just outside Church Hill and a pursuit ensued. The Mustang reportedly failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the road and struck a barn.

The driver escaped on foot and is believed to be still at large.

An HCSO unit was involved in the crash as well, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report. The HCSO requested a THP helicopter to help search for the suspect, but it could not fly due to the low cloud ceiling.

Lawson confirmed Tuesday that Hawkins County’s two pursuits weren’t related to the Kingsport Police Department’s search for a homicide suspect in a Monday evening shooting. Lawson added that both pursuits remain under investigation.

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