Fleeing gas-theft suspect nabbed while talking on phone

News Sentinel staff

A man who led authorities on a pursuit Thursday after an alleged gasoline theft was arrested overnight while talking on a pay telephone in East Knox County.

Mark Bivens, 45, of Loudon was at a service station on Strawberry Plains Pike when Deputy Jack Yearwood pulled up behind him.

Bivens ran for a van, and Yearwood boxed him in and arrested him at gunpoint, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Martha Dooley.

The van was reported stolen from Jim Cogdill Dodge in Knoxville, Dooley said.

Bivens has arrests for numerous thefts, assault, possession of drugs and evading arrest, Dooley said. He’s accused of driving away at least 10 times recently from the Flying J on Watt Road without paying for about $800 worth of gasoline.

He did it again Thursday, but this time the manager followed him in his car, authorities said.

Sheriff’s motorcycle officers in the area responded as Bivens led them on a pursuit for about 12 miles, reaching speeds of 80 miles an hour in a Dodge van.

At one point on Everett Road in West Knox County, Bivens tried to hit one of the motorcycle officers head-on. The pursuit ended in Roane County at the Cross Eyed Cricket Campground exit when officers lost sight of him.

A woman drove her car into the path of another motorcycle officer, Charles Beaird, who was responding to the call. He suffered a partially broken clavicle.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol, Loudon County, and Roane County assisted in the pursuit.

Bivens is facing theft and pursuit charges from Thursday’s incident.