Four high-speed chase defendants garner a total of 40 Hawkins indictments

Jeff Bobo • Aug 23, 2018 at 8:50 AM

ROGERSVILLE — There’s been a rash of high speed police pursuits in Hawkins County in recent months, including four that occurred within about six weeks and resulted in a total of 40 grand jury indictments among four defendants Monday.

All four are scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Criminal Court on Aug. 31.

Timothy Edward Griffin

Griffin, 35, of Greeneville, was indicted on charges of felony evading arrest, possession of stolen property over $2,500, possession of burglary tools, evading arrest (on foot), speeding 90 mph in a 55 mph zone, driving on a revoked license, violation of the helmet law, reckless driving, stop light violation and no insurance.

On May 16, Griffin allegedly led police on a high speed chase and was arrested after abandoning a stolen bike and fleeing on foot into a wooded area near a Surgoinsville daycare center.

That morning, Church Hill Police Department Detective Ethan Mays was at the intersection of Highway 11-W and Goshen Valley Road when he observed a man riding a motorcycle that matched the description of a BOLO (be on the lookout) for a stolen bike with a rider not wearing a helmet.

When Mays attempted a traffic stop, Griffin allegedly accelerated and fled east on 11-W, where he ran a red light and did a U-turn at the South Central Avenue intersection.

According to police, Griffin reached speeds of 90 miles per hour while still traveling westbound on 11-W and drove in a reckless manner as to force vehicles to abruptly change lanes while passing them. Griffin eventually entered Surgoinsville, where Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds pulled into his lane of travel near the Quikstop gas station.

Mays and Hammonds performed a “rolling roadblock,” forcing Griffin to drive down into the grass median, at which point he exited the opposite side of the median and began traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes for a short distance.

Griffin then pulled into the parking lot of a daycare center on Highway 11-W, where he abandoned the motorcycle and fled into the woods, where he was arrested.

Griffin was also indicted Monday on an unrelated felony escape charge.

Heath Dudley Drinnon

Drinnon, 42, 9271 Highway 11-W, Mooresburg, was indicted on charges of felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, evading arrest on foot, resisting arrest, driving on a revoked license, light law violation and stop sign violation.

In the early morning hours of May 2, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Montgomery was patrolling Carters Valley Road near the Looney Gap Road intersection when he came up behind an eastbound 1995 Dodge Dakota driven by Drinnon.

When Drinnon noticed the patrol car behind him, he reportedly accelerated, leading police on a chase reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph eastbound on Carters Valley Road, during which time he allegedly crossed the center line and traveled on both sides of the highway.

Drinnon then turned off the highway and attempted to elude deputies on the back roads.

While attempting to negotiate a curve on Morning Star Road, Drinnon struck a mailbox and several concrete blocks, and then veered into a field, where his pickup came to a stop several hundred yards from the roadway.

Deputies located Drinnon hiding in the woods about 500 yards from the crashed vehicle.

Austin Wayne Hinkle

Hinkle, 21, 1001 Tranbarger Drive, Kingsport, was indicted on charges of felony evading arrest, two counts of felony reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia, evading arrest (on foot), improper passing, improper display of registration, speeding 58 mph in a 45 mph zone, speeding 70 mph in a 30 mph zone, driving on a revoked license sixth offense, reckless driving and stoplight violation.

On the evening of June 16, Hinkle allegedly led police on a high speed pursuit through Mount Carmel, Carters Valley and Church Hill.

Mount Carmel Police Department Officer Chris Vaughan was watching a residence on Carters Valley Road where drug activity was suspected and a fight had taken place the previous night when a black 1990 Ford Thunderbird which had been parked in the driveway of the home the previous night stopped in front of the residence in the westbound lane of the roadway.

Vaughan then followed the vehicle, during which time he determined the wrong license plate was on the car, and he clocked the car traveling 58 mph in a 45 mph zone.

When Vaughan attempted to conduct a traffic stop, Hinkle allegedly accelerated and passed a vehicle in a no passing zone.

The pursuit continued west on Carters Valley Road into Church Hill, where Hinkle turned south onto North Central Avenue.

CHPD Officer Dustin Dean stated in his report that he encountered the Thunderbird near the Miller Wood Road intersection, where it slowed and then swerved toward him in an attempt to strike his patrol vehicle.

The Thunderbird then veered off the right side of the roadway to avoid contact and continued south at a high rate of speed, where it allegedly passed three vehicles illegally at 70 mph in a 30 mph zone and ran a red light at Main Boulevard, nearly striking two vehicles.

Dean broke off the pursuit at Highway 11-W due to public safety concerns, but HCSO Deputy Anthony Crosby indicated it crossed 11-W south and onto Silver Lake Road.

The Thunderbird later blew a tire while attempting to turn east onto 11-W, resulting in a single-vehicle crash. Hinkle exited the vehicle and fled on foot toward Food City. He was apprehended after a brief foot chase.

Mark Anthony Bishop

Bishop, 45, 913 Shadyside Drive, Kingsport, was indicted on two counts of felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, DUI third offense, driving on revoked, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to provide immediate notice of an accident, improper passing, violation of due care, seatbelt violation and no insurance.

On May 30, after being refused a beer sale, Bishop allegedly led police on a 100 mph chase from Surgoinsville into Kingsport, where the pursuit was discontinued on Netherland Inn Road due to public safety concerns.

The HCSO later apprehended Bishop and his female passenger, Lisa Rose Reynolds, in a field behind a Ramey Town Road residence north of Allandale.

The chase began shortly before 11:30 a.m. after SPD Officer Nathan Simpson received a BOLO for a shirtless drunk driver (Bishop) in a beige Jeep.

Bishop was reportedly angry because he had been refused a beer purchase at the Quick Stop market on Main Street in Church Hill, and he was headed toward Surgoinsville.

Simpson conducted a traffic stop, but Bishop reportedly refused to exit the vehicle, then drove off heading east on 11-W.

During the ensuing pursuit, Bishop reportedly passed eastbound Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Draine, who had activated his lights and siren as he observed the Jeep approaching from behind.

Draine said he had to swerve to avoid a collision with the Jeep, and then observed the Jeep was passing vehicles in the emergency lane at 100 mph.

As the Jeep crossed Goshen Valley Road, it collided with a 2016 Toyota Highlander stopped at the intersection. It was driven by 83-year-old Robert McDaniel of Maryville.

Neither McDaniel nor his passenger, 76-year-old Rebecca McDaniel, was injured, and the Jeep continued east.

Draine discontinued the chase after observing Bishop passing vehicles on a double yellow line on Netherland Inn Road.

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