ROGERSVILLE — A South Carolina man who allegedly led police on a 120-mph chase late on Monday night in far western Hawkins county before crashing into a light pole and causing a blackout, was later arrested while fleeing the area in a stolen golf cart.
Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stephanie Bolognese stated in her report that around 10:14 p.m. on Monday she observed a small gray 4-door vehicle traveling 57 mph in a 45 mph zone on Route 31 near Adams Lane.
When Bolgonese attempted a traffic stop, the driver, later identified as Joseph Matthew Lewis, 40, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, allegedly accelerated to 120 mph.
“The vehicle was all over the roadway and driving in the opposite lane almost going into the ditch,” Bolognese said.
Due to the safety concerns the pursuit was terminated, but Bolognese later was informed by witnesses that they had seen a vehicle run a stop sign, and a few seconds later heard an explosion, after which the electricity went off.
A 2003 Volvo was located on McNalley Lane across from Route 31, where it had crashed into a utility pole, and the driver had fled on foot. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit was dispatched to assist with the search, but the suspect wasn’t located.
Around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, HCSO Deputy Adam Bledsoe, who had been searching the area, located Lewis driving a golf cart on Slate Hill Road.
Upon speaking to Lewis, Bledsoe reportedly observed that he had cuts all over and was bleeding.
Lewis reportedly refused to answer if he’d been in an accident, identified himself as “Daniel Splawn,” and when asked for the last four digits of his Social Security number replied, “I don’t know. It’s been a long day.”
Lewis did, however, allegedly admit that he’d found the golf cart at a campground.
A computer check revealed that his driver’s license is suspended in South Carolina, and his vehicle tag belonged to a 2007 Isuzu.
Lewis was arraigned on Wednesday in Hawkins County Sessions Court on charges including felony evading arrest, evading arrest, criminal impersonation, leaving the scene of an accident with damage, theft, failure to exercise due care, failure to stop for blue lights, speeding, stop sign violation, registration violation, driving on a suspended license and no insurance.
As of Wednesday Lewis remained held in the Hawkins County Jail on $50,000 bond.