Crash damages bank

Man drives into Lenoir City building while being chased by law officers

News Sentinel Staff

LENOIR CITY - The bank is a little worse for wear, but the driver, who authorities say caused the damage, won't be driving again anytime soon.

First National Bank, 16239 U.S. Highway 70, was severely damaged in the 9:30 p.m. Monday crash, bank President David Allen said Tuesday.

"It knocked the exterior wall into the middle of the bank," Allen said Tuesday morning. "We're closed until further notice until we can get a structural engineer to examine it."

Although the bank was closed Tuesday, customers were able to access safety deposit boxes by appointment. More information also was available by calling the U.S. Highway 321 branch at 865-271-1600, according to Ray Wright, senior vice president.

Loudon County Sheriff's Office Lt. Patrick Upton said Andrew Vogt drove the vehicle at the bank while being chased by officers in a pursuit that spanned four counties.

Vogt, 37, of Kennesaw, Ga., dove out of the vehicle just before impact, Upton said. He said the vehicle was traveling about 60 mph at the time.

Vogt was admitted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Authorities were not releasing his condition.

Vogt faces charges of felony evading, felony reckless endangerment and driving on a suspended license in Loudon County, Upton said.

The chase began after an officer with the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force stopped Vogt at 8:22 p.m. Monday in Bradley County, said Steve Lawson, interim director of the drug task force.

The officer stopped the white hatchback for speeding near the 29 mile marker, which is north of the Cleveland, Tenn., interchange.

The officer noted it took Vogt about one-half mile to stop for his blue lights, Lawson said

Vogt stopped the vehicle and spoke with the officer, who then walked to the rear of the car to await Vogt. Lawson said the officer waited for Vogt at the rear of the car because Vogt was accompanied by a dog.

But Vogt sped away. Lawson said the officer pursued the fleeing car, but terminated the chase at the 33 mile marker because of concerns for public safety.

The officer alerted other law enforcement agencies of the chase, prompting a pursuit that covered Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Loudon counties.

Lawson said Vogt faces charges of speeding, driving on a suspended license and felony evading arrest upon his return to Bradley County.