Hawkins man indicted for theft of school board member's Jeep

Jeff Bobo • Aug 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County man who allegedly stole Rogersville school board member Todd Biggs’ Jeep two years ago after admittedly eating mushrooms in the woods was indicted Monday on a charge of theft over $10,000 by a Hawkins County grand jury.

Lorne Ray Wallen, 51, 1322 Longs Bend Road, Rogersville, also has an unrelated arson charge pending from last month, when he allegedly set his mother’s hay field on fire after she wouldn’t immediately give him a ride.

Wallen was charged with the theft of Biggs’ Jeep on the morning of Aug. 2, 2017.

According to a Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office report, on the previous night Wallen’s mother contacted Central Dispatch after he arrived home bleeding around 11 p.m. in a vehicle that wasn’t his.

His mother reportedly told Central Dispatch she thought Wallen was “having a nervous breakdown.”

Wallen refused EMS transport, but HCSO Deputy Kevin Johnson reportedly agreed to drive Wallen to Hawkins County Memorial Hospital.

Police said that while they were en route to the hospital, Wallen stated to Johnson that he’d eaten some mushrooms while out in the woods and that he’d gotten the Jeep Wrangler at Jackson Motors in Rogersville.

A computer check revealed the Jeep belonged to Biggs, who stated that he left the vehicle at Jackson Motors the prior evening to get some work done the next day, and he’d left the keys in the console.

Upon their arrival at the hospital, Wallen was advised by Johnson he would be going to jail instead of the ER.

Wallen allegedly resisted Johnson while being handcuffed. Aside from theft over $10,000, he was also indicted on a charge of resisting arrest. Wallen is scheduled for arraignment on those charges Friday in Hawkins County Criminal Court.

As for the pending arson charge, Wallen appeared in Sessions Court Monday, and a new Sessions Court date was scheduled for Sept. 25.

Others indicted Monday and their charges were:

* John Vance Bowers, 43, 1748 Charles St., Kingsport — leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, evading arrest, failure to obey a traffic device, driving on a revoked license second offense, and no insurance.

* Justin Andrew Ellis, 28, 1949 Goshen Valley Road, Church Hill — possession of meth with intent to deliver, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, possession of clonazepam with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of Schedule II narcotics, violation of the Due Care Law, and no insurance.

* Joseph Joel Gibson, 41, 1209 Fairview St., Kingsport — aggravated burglary and theft over $2,500.

* Donald Jessie Wilder, 22, 330 Campbell Drive, Bean Station — felony evading arrest, theft over $1,000, vandalism over $1,000, evading arrest, driving on a suspended license, reckless driving, stop sign violation, and speeding.

* Christopher Jordan Tipton, 21, 1000 Stonegate Road, Kingsport — aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, vandalism, and driving on a revoked license third offense.

* Richard Allen King Jr., 20, 1000 Stonegate Road, Kingsport — aggravated robbery, theft over $1,000, and vandalism.

* Wayne Lorel Earl, 54, 233 Smith Chapel Road, Church Hill — theft over $1,000, driving while in possession of meth, possession of meth with intent to deliver, simple possession of alprazolam, simple possession of marijuana, driving on a revoked license, and failure to dim headlights.

* Michael P. Slone, 39, 1929 Route 31, Mooresburg — felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, driving on a revoked license second offense, registration violation, no insurance, seatbelt violation, and child restraint violation.

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