Children unhurt during intentional crash at Kingsport gas station

Rain Smith • Aug 29, 2019 at 1:28 PM

KINGSPORT — At a city convenience store Tuesday, a man purposely rammed his car into a vehicle that contained an infant and two toddlers, according to police, then the car ricocheted into a gas pump before fleeing the scene.

There were no major injuries in the incident, in which the suspect claimed the other driver owed him money. That assertion was denied by the victim, while Charley R. Spaulding, 25, was arrested on multiple charges. They include five counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

According to a Kingsport Police Department crash report, the incident occurred about noon at the Shell station, 1600 W. Stone Drive. An affidavit in general sessions court says a patrol officer was waved down by a witness.

The woman relayed seeing an argument between two men, then a pair of vehicles colliding in the parking lot. Records state the officer then spoke with the store clerk and reviewed surveillance footage.

It was reportedly learned that Spaulding entered the gas station with a "large stick" and threatened a customer who was at the register. Spaulding is alleged to have then exited the store to begin beating on the other man's Ford Explorer. His stick was reportedly used to break a headlight of the SUV, which contained a woman, infant and two additional children, ages 2 and 3.

According to the reporting officer's affidavit, store video footage shows the other man exiting the store and Spaulding going to his Chevrolet Lumina. Spaulding is alleged to have initially sped away, but then "made a turn, and intentionally rammed his vehicle into the SUV."

Police say that after Spaulding's Lumina redirected into a gas pump pillar to cause damage, he fled the scene. A crash report lists only the adult female occupant of the Explorer as having a possible injury.

Police found the victims at nearby Model City Apartments on Stonegate Road. They confirmed the series of events at the Shell, according to court records, and identified the attacker as Spaulding, their neighbor.

The male victim said Spaulding was demanding to be repaid money, but he had no idea what he was referring to. Officers also observed damage the collision had inflicted to the passenger side of their SUV.

Police found Spaulding at his apartment, where he was taken into custody and transported to the city jail. An affidavit contains no statements from Spaulding concerning the incident.

Along with assault and reckless endangerment, Spaulding was additionally charged with vandalism, leaving the scene of a crash, failure to have insurance, and failure to register a vehicle. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained held in the Sullivan County jail on a $50,000 bond.

Meanwhile, the other man was issued citations due to his vehicle being unregistered and without insurance. He was also charged with driving on a suspended license.