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Stolen trailer flies off during chase

A stolen utility trailer broke loose and crashed into traffic yesterday morning as a father and son led deputies on a chase through White Pine.

The 23-year-old son was apprehended, but his 46-year-old father escaped on foot after their truck smashed through two locked farm gates and wedged against a dirt bank next to a chicken house, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Jeffrey Allen Morgan, 46, of Cub Circle, Morristown.

Ryan Christopher Morgan, 23, of Talbott, is in custody at the Jefferson County Jail. The charges include felony theft, reckless endangerment, felony fleeing arrest, resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession of burglary tools, drug paraphernalia possession, and possession of marijuana.

"The VIN and tags didn't match on the truck they were driving, so the investigation is continuing," McCoig said.

The Hurst utility trailer, which they had allegedly stolen in Talbott, came loose and struck a vehicle on Roy Messer Highway as the two fled deputies, McCoig reported.

No one was injured in the accident, but the trailer and a vehicle were damaged.

The chase started at 5:51 a.m. on Rocktown Road when the trailer owner was headed to work and saw two men hitching his trailer to their truck. He chased the gray 2004 Chevrolet Silverado in his own vehicle and called 911.

Deputies Chris Edmonds and Dylan Bowen took up the chase, which went into Hamblen County and then back into White Pine, where the trailer came loose. The tailgate of the trailer also flew off on Highway 25E in Morristown, the sheriff said.

The driver, believed to have been Jeffrey Morgan, turned onto a farm lane off Chestnut Grove Road and crashed through two locked gates before striking an earthen bank.

Both occupants of the truck baled out and ran, but Edmonds was able to apprehend Ryan Morgan quickly. Jeffrey Morgan escaped. Edmonds and Bowen were assisted at the scene by Deputy Michael Bingle and McCoig.

McCoig said both father and son are convicted felons. He added that Hamblen County Sheriff's Department is assisting with the investigation.

Two charged with stealing meth

Two people are charged with meth-peddling following an undercover investigation, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.

Both individuals were arrested following sealed presentments before the Grand Jury.

Tiffany Nicole Coffey, 22, of Southerland Avenue, Knoxville, is charged with two counts sale and delivery of methamphetamine. Robert Lynn Rines, 29, of 5224 Buell Chapel, Morristown, is charged with sale and delivery of methamphetamine.

The undercover operation was conducted by the sheriff's department and the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force.

Restaurant manager charged with theft at Taste of Dandridge

A restaurant manager is charged with stealing cash from the business, sheriff's reports say.

Ashley Nicole Lovell, 29, of 1010 Burchfield Road, Dandridge, is charged with three counts of theft over $500 and seven counts of theft under $500, Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor reported.

Lovell is accused of stealing between $5,000 and $6,000 from Taste of Dandridge restaurant (540 Patriot Drive, Dandridge) by using a tip scheme, according to Taylor's report.

Lovell allegedly rang up false transactions for meals and used pre-paid cards to pay $20 towards each purchase. She then added tips to the transactions for $100 to $600 each and took the money from the restaurant's funds, Taylor reported.

Rose indicted for attack on officers

A Jefferson City man has been indicted on charges that he attacked two officers before one of them shot him last December.

James Thomas Rose, 56, of 613 Moulden Street, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault stemming from the December 23 incident.

Meanwhile, a TBI probe of the shooting resulted in no charges or allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the deputies, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.

Rose was treated for a single gunshot wound after an officer fired one shot as Rose attempted to attack him and another deputy with a knife and a machete, reports indicate.

The incident occurred at a Cora Drive residence during an ongoing domestic dispute. When officers arrived, they saw a man come outside with a knife and then re-enter the residence, reports at the time state. When the officers went inside, they found a grandmother and two young children there - and Rose allegedly attacked deputies with a knife and a machete. An officer fired one shot, which struck Rose, McCoig reported.

The next day, officers made contact with a 46-year-old Jefferson City man who had allegedly been cut on the face by Rose before officers arrived. The man, Kenneth E. Brown, of the same address, had left the residence and eventually made his way to Jefferson Memorial Hospital because the bleeding would not stop. He was released after receiving stitches for the cut, according to deputies' reports.

Brown told officers he and Rose had a disagreement Friday, and Rose "swung at" him. Brown said he thought at first that Rose had struck him with his fist, but was told his face was bleeding. Brown said he then saw a knife in Rose's hand, and Rose went to his bedroom and picked up a second weapon, a machete. Brown said he "started to get" his own knife and told the attacker that he would "kill him" if he came after him again.

Brown, however, left the residence with another person and went to Dandridge, where he eventually found a ride most of the way home, deputies were told. After arriving at home, he was unable to stop the bleedng and went to the hospital. Brown told officers that when he got home from the hospital, others there told him law enforcement had just left.

Arrests follow 100 mile-per-hour chase

Two people face drug and other charges after a 100 mph chase that included a stretch of wrong-way driving early Thursday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.

The ride ended on Highway 92 in Dandridge at 4 a.m. after the driver struck a patrol car and fishtailed out of control, ending up on the side of the roadway where he and a passender were taken into custody, according to a report by Deputy Brandon Bullins.

Driver Christopher Allen Lee Harmon, 25, of 635 Curley Lane, Seymour, is charged with aggravated assault, possession of Schedule II controlled substance for resale, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, evading arrest, drug paraphernalia possession, possession of legend drug without prescription, and vehicle financial responsibility violation. He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail with bail set at $30,000.

Passenger Zeynep Elizabeth Sherman, 31, of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, is charged with possession of Schedule II controlled substance for resale, possession of legend drug without prescription, and drug paraphernalia possession. She was released from jail after posting bond pending a preliminary Sessions Court hearing.

A third occupant of the vehicle, Brianne J. Wentworth, 18, also of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, was cited for drug paraphernalia possession, the deputy reported. She told officers that the driver refused to stop and let her out.

Jefferson County patrol units picked up the chase as it moved into their district from Sevier County on Interstate 40. The driver of the 1994 Nissan Quest was being sought for allegedly assaulting an officer, Bullins reported.

Moving at speeds as high as 100 miles per hour, Harmon led patrol units to Exit 417, where he entered Highway 92 toward Dandridge, turning onto Highway 25/70 headed west before turning again onto Price Road, which connected him back to Highway 92. The van at first headed toward Dandridge, but then made a u-turn and came back toward Jefferson City in the wrong lane of traffic. The van made contact with Bullins' patrol car before careening out of control.

Moore faces attempted murder charge for shooting into girlfriend's home

A Strawberry Plains man was indicted on a charge of attempted first degree murder last week for allegedly firing a gun into his ex-girlfriend's home last year.

Charles Edward Moore, 39, of 631 South Carter Road, is also charged with five counts of violating an order of protection, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, reckless endangerment, vandalism under $500, criminal trespass, aggravated assault, and two counts harassment.

He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail. Arraignment on the charges is set for tomorrow.

The indictments allege that Moore had a pattern of harassing the 30-year-old ex-girlfriend, culminating in indictments last April in which small caliber bullets were fired into the residence where she lived with her parents.

Last April 15, Deputy Cynthia Breton responded to the residence, where the woman's parents said someone had driven by their home just before dawn the past two mornings firing a gun.

Sheriff Bud McCoig said further investigation by Detective Pam Taylor and Deputy Curtis French allegedly revealed several bullet holes in the house. The investigators were able to retrieve at least one slug lodged in the wall, he added. The sheriff said the gun investigators believe was used to fire the bullets was later found at Moore's home.

Earlier, the victim had obtained an order of protection preventing Moore from having any contact with her. However, according to police reports and the indictments handed up by the grand jury last Monday, he allegedly tried to contact her via Facebook and by cell phone text. In June, while he was in jail, Moore allegedly enlisted a fellow inmate to hand copy a letter he had written the victim and mail it to her.

Last February, prior to the shooting incident, the victim's car was vandalized. On one occasion, two tires were flat, and on a second sugar had been poured into the car's gas tank.

Michigan man sentenced to 12 years for statutory rape

A Michigan man was sentenced to 12 years last week for aggravated statutory rape and other crimes that occured after he contacted a 14-year-old girl on the internet and brought her to his former residence in Dandridge.

John David Duford, 56, of 289 Van Buren Circle, Davison, entered guilty pleas to solicitation of a minor, soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated statutory rape, sexual exploitation of a minor, false report, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Circuit Judge Duane Slone ordered Duford to serve four years of the 12-year sentence with release eligibility after serving 30 percent. He was placed on supervised probation for another eight years.

Duford was ordered to have to contact with the victim and comply with terms of the state's sex offender registry.

The investigation began in July 2015 when officers recieved an anonymous call, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported at the time. The investigation resulted in Duford's arrest, and the youth was returned to her parents in Springfield, about four hours from Dandridge.

Officers reported that Duford allegedly denied that the girl was present at the residence. He would not let officers inside the house to check, however.

Later, the officers went by the residence and allegedly spotted the youth on the front porch. Duford was arrested on the contributing and false report charges and made bail. Department of Children's Services workers interviewed the victim and were told that she had allegedly had sexual contact with Duford, who was re-arrested several days later on the statutory rape charge, McCoig reported.

The sheriff said investigators believe Duford made initial contact with the girl on the internet before going to her hometown on his motorcycle and bringing her back here about three days befroe his arrest.

Jefferson Grand Jury returns indictments

A Jefferson County grand Jury met this week and returned a number of indictments.

Charles Edward Moore, 39, Carter School Road, Strawberry Plains, faces charges involving Lauren Rimmer on a number of occasions in 2016.

On April 15, he allegedly used a firearm in a premeditated attempt to kill Rimmer by firing the weapon into a residence. He is charged with additional offenses which allegedly occured in February, April and June of last year.

Moore faces charges of attempted first degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, reckless endangerment, criminal prespass, aggravated assault, two counts of harassment and five counts violation of an order of protection.

Two men face charges stemming from the alleged sale of drugs in a school zone.

Charles Lethan Hall, 25, Bayberry Way, Newport, is charged with five counts of the sale of Suboxone in a drug free zone.

Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said Hall was working for a temporary service agency assigned to work at the Jefferson County High School at the time of the alleged offenses in August and September 2016.

The sheriff said the Suboxone was sold to work release jail inmates who also were working at the school.

Christopher Lynn Kiker, 41, Waterfront Drive, Dandridge, is charged with the sale and delivery of Clonazepam and Hydrocodone in a drug free zone in August 2016.

Rodney James Ross, 25, Mishawaka, Indiana, is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, as well as felony possession of Oxycodone, Percocet, Methadone, Adderall, Alprazolam and marijuana. He also is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of an order of protection, the registration law and the seat belt law.

Two persons are indicted in the burglary of storage units in September and October of last year.

Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, Sevierville, and Brittany Lashae Fife, 29, Knoxville, are charged with 22 counts of burglary, three counts theft over $1,000 and two counts of theft. The couple also is charged with similar offenses in Sevier County.

Brandon Todd Beckler, 24, Old Stage Road, Dandridge, faces two counts aggravated sexual battery involving a victim under the age of 13. The incidents allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2016.

21-count federal indictment unsealed

Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe returned to a federal grand jury long enough Tuesday to further harm accused Hamblen County crystal-meth dealer Luke Trent and create space in the case file for six alleged associates, according to court documents.

The 21-count superseding federal indictment was unsealed Thursday.

Trent, 29, wasn't at his Pleasant Grove Road home when the FBI and Hamblen County Sheriff's Department narcotics investigators executed a search warrant and confiscated more than two pounds of crystal-meth, firearms and prescription drugs, authorities say.

Trent was with Tara Michelle Carmon, his co-defendant and girlfriend, when HSCD investigators took him into custody in North Carolina. Carmon was indicted for selling meth and harboring a fugitive.

The 12 firearms are problems for Trent because he's a convicted felon and can't legally possess guns or ammunition. The grand jury also indicted Trent for this and allegedly possessing a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense.

The grand jury indicted three others, Willie Shane Jarnigan, Alexander Paul Kelly and April Danielle Kennedy, for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crystal meth and possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking offense.

Jarnigan lived on Stagecoach Road in Hamblen County. Kelly liived in White Pine and Kennedy was an alleged transient drug dealer who drifted between Hamblen, Jefferson and Grainger counties, authorities say.

The two others indicted solely for allegedly selling meth were Cassandra Dorene Dapson and Lora Beth Seaton. The two women lived in White Pine. Seaton has been in the Hamblen County Jail for several months.

The crystal-meth offense normally carries a 10-year minimum-mandatory sentence. Those convicted of firearms offenses will serve five years on top of whatever they get for selling meth.

Couple indicted for 22 thefts of storage units

Grand jurors indicted a couple on Monday that investigators say is responsible for 22 storage unit burglaries in the Dandridge area. Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, of 1064 Sunset Circle, Newport, and Brittany Lashae Fife, 29, 626 Sugarloaf Road, Seymour, are both charged with 22 counts burglary, three counts theft over $1,000, and two counts theft under $500.

The two were caught after wrecking a car during a chase with Sevier County officers last October. In January, they were transferred to Jefferson County to be charged here before being returned to Sevier, where they also face multiple theft charges.

Detective Sgt. Randy Poe investigated the Jefferson County case, which involved thefts in September at storage units at Aaron Self Storage, 2595 East Highway 25/70 in Dandridge. Surveillance video showed a car the two were travveling in.

Investigators have recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods taken in the burglaries. Storage units were also burglarized in Cocke, Hamblen, Knox, and Sevier Counties, as well as cabins in Sevier.


Seven now face charges in knife fight

Cosby man seriously hurt when car stolen in Cocke County

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013

The car in which deputies found the victim of a knife attack Sunday afternoon had been reported stolen at the scene of an earlier assault in Cosby.

Meanwhile, a total of seven people now face various charges associated with a fight that seriously injured 41-year-old Clinton William Baxley of Morristown, Sheriff Bud McCoig said yesterday.

Slashing victim flown to UT by LifeStar

Investigators are searching for a Talbott teen as they try to sort out details of a fight in which a Morristown man was slashed with a knife Sunday afternoon.

3-29-2010 - Three in Custody After Home Invasion Robbery Deputies were called to a Talbott residence to investigated a home robbery. Deputy Rob Smith reports that subjects entered the home with their heads covered with masks, were armed with knifes and a ball bat. Upon entering the home one of the victims was struck with a bat and the other was held at knife point. The suspects were demanding medication and money. After further investigation Detective Curtis Owens has arrested and charged Ronnie Wilson, of Morristown, William Simerly, of Talbott, and Preston Proffit, of Morristown with Aggravated Robbery 

1-22-2010 – Sheriff’s Office Warns of Craig’s List Scam - A concerned citizen reported to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department about a potential scam on Craig’s list. The complainant reported that they had checked an ad stating that a soldier about to be deployed to Iraq wanted to liquidate his assets. This transaction was being conducted through a third party that the complainant called a middle man, ebay financial department. He also reported fine print at the bottom of the ad “you be protected”. This, raising his suspicions caused him to contact Craig’s list for them to investigate. As a result of the investigation, the complainant was able to get his money returned.


1-20-2010 – Suspect in Custody after Home Invasion – Deputies were called to a residence on Valley Home Road after a subject busted through the front door. The home owner scared the suspect away at which time he got his vehicle stuck in the yard and took off running on foot. Deputies used a K-9 to attempt to locate the suspect and were able to locate shoes and clothing which matched the description of the suspect which was given by the victim. A short time later, deputies received a call from Christopher Rolen, of Dandridge, who reported that he had been robbed and his vehicle had been stolen. He was missing his shoes and shirt when officers made contact. Upon further investigation Rolen did admit to breaking into the residence. He was charged with Aggravated Burglary and has an appearance date set in General Sessions Court.

10-11-2009 - Three in Custody after Local Business Robbed at Gun Point - Deputies and Detectives had three suspects in custody shortly after they entered Taylor's Market, in the Swannsylvania community, pointing a shotgun at the owner and demanded money. Charged with aggravated robbery are Anthony Dewyane Hollifield of Dandridge, Michael Albert Davis and William Harris both from Newport. Chief Detective McCoig reports that Harris was in the store acting as if he were a customer when Davis entered the store and allegedly pointed the gun at Rathbone demanding money. Davis then fled with cash in a pillow case. Hollifield was reported as the driver of the get away vehicle, which Harris reported to the police as being stolen by the thieves. All three suspected of the robbery appeared in General Sessions Court and are being held under $50,000 bond.  

9-25-2009 - Sheriff's Office Receives Grant Money from Department of Justice - The Sheriff's Office has been awarded two grants from the US Department of Justice totaling 55,000 dollars. One grant will upgrade eleven patrol vehicles with digital video cameras to better assist officers record incidents. Portable Radios will be purchased with money from the second grant. This will allow the department to purchase P25 capable portable radios which will allow for better communications with other types of radio systems. 

4-26-2009 – Dandridge Man Killed in Farming Accident – David Howard, 71, of Grove Road Dandridge, was found by family members in a field near his residence after he did not come home from working outside. Corporal Crowther reports that a set of tools were found near the body and it appeared that he was working on a farming tractor when it began moving forward. There were signs that Howard was struck by the tractor. Howard, who died at the scene, was transported to Jefferson Memorial Hospital.

4-20-2009 – Skeletal Remains of a Dandridge Man Found on Interstate 40 – A Tennessee Department of Transportation employee found a decomposed body in the area of Interstate 40 near exit 417. The body was found 50 feet from travel lanes. The body is identified as James Brooks of 213 Tristan Road, Dandridge. Brooks lived less than a mile away and had last been seen over a year ago. The cause of death has not been determined. Forensics anthropologist from the University of Tennessee is assisting with the investigations.


12-28-2008 – Deputy Solves Home Burglary and a Arrest is Made – Deputy Todd Coleman was called to investigate a home burglary at 2844 Black Oak Road. Upon completing the investigation he learned of possible suspect information, and completed a follow up investigation with the suspects. While speaking with suspects and witnesses he learned that Brenda Watkins took property from the Black Oak Road residence without permission from the owners. This property had been sold since the incident, however Deputy Coleman was able to track the property down and it was returned to the owner. Watkins is charged with felony theft and has a hearing date set in General Sessions Court.




11-14-2008 - Deputies Receive in-car Computers – Deputies are now able to use in car computers to complete reports. This is a great benefit because it allows the officer to stay in the community on patrol where in the past the officer would have to dedicate a large amount of time to the office completing reports. In addition to completion of reports deputies can obtain driver’s license and registration information, as well as Tennessee Department of Corrections information and history. The computers were purchased using a grant which the Sheriff’s Department was awarded.


11-3-2008 - Animal Control Assigned to Sheriff’s Department – Animal Control officers have been reassigned and are the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department. This change takes affect Monday November 3rd. This will allow for better response and accountability of animal complaints and violations. Citizens having animal complaints should contact the emergency communications center at 475-3482 and report the issue. The call taker will prioritize the complaint following general order established by the Sheriff’s Department and assign an animal control office



10-18-2008 – Deputy Seriously Injured During Vehicle Pursuit – Deputy Michael Ramsey lost control of his patrol vehicle while responding to a vehicle pursuit. The vehicle which Ramsey was driving slammed into a concrete pillar along a bridge on West Highway 25/70 near Brooks Road. He was able to crawl out of the vehicle before it burst into flames. Ramsey was airlifted to UT Medical Center with serious head and neck injuries. The vehicle which was being pursued was later stopped on Broadway in Knoxville. The driver is facing several charges after assaulting an officer on a earlier traffic stop.



09-22-2008 - Meth Lab Investigation After Drug Overdose Report - Investigators found meth making materials at a residence on Birdsong Lane after a subject was transported to the hospital suffering from a meth overdose. Chief Deputy Bud McCoig reports complaints prior to this incident. When investigators arrived at the residence several attempted to run out the backdoor, however deputies were there waiting on them. After gaining consent to search the residence, items commonly used to make meth, as well as finished meth product was found. The owner of the residence, Anita Hutsell, and visitors Michael Dewayne White, of White Oak Church Road, and Shawn Ray Banks, of Mansfield Gap Road were arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of meth for sale.