Man charged following multi-county chase, crash

By Jessica Stith and Darren Dunlap
of The Daily Times Staff

A police pursuit through Loudon and Blount counties on Wednesday ended when the suspect crashed a stolen vehicle on Meadow Road.

Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said the suspect was 38-year-old Christopher Shane Clark. He said Clark is listed as homeless, but they believe he resides somewhere in Blount County.

According to White, the incident began when Lenoir City police officers received a call that a man walked out on his tab at Ruby Tuesday off Exit 81 on Interstate 75.

"The call came out and then our officers were headed that way when they encountered him going southbound on Highway 321 toward Blount County," White said.

Lenoir City Police Lt. Mike Tinnel attempted to stop the vehicle on U.S. 321 at U.S. 11, but the suspect did not stop. "As soon as he activated his emergency equipment, (the suspect) sped away," White said.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said Loudon County Sheriff's deputies joined in the pursuit. At about 4:50 p.m., the suspect entered Blount County, and Blount County Sheriff's deputies continued the chase from there.

Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said Maryville police officers set up a perimeter and got into position to assist in the pursuit, but the suspect never made it to the Maryville city limits.

The driver crashed the vehicle on Meadow Road and fled on foot, according to Crisp. White said there were no passengers in the vehicle.

"After a short time he was located and apprehended," said Crisp.

The Blount County Sheriff's Office used a K-9 team to track the suspect, said Marian O'Briant, BCSO public information officer. A detective in an unmarked BCSO vehicle later spotted the man on Nathan Hills Drive.

Crisp said the 2001 Gold Mazda 626 that Clark was driving was stolen Tuesday at Pilot gas station, 1701 W. Broadway Ave., Maryville. He said Carol N. Smith, Highland Road, Maryville, reported at 7:50 p.m. that she pumped gas into her Mazda 626, went inside the store and returned to find her car missing. She reported that she left her car running and her doors unlocked.

Crisp said they recovered video of the suspect getting into the vehicle and driving off from the gas station. He said officers have filed a warrant charging Clark with theft of property over $1,000.

White said Lenoir City police officers charged Clark with theft under $500, felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment and no driver's license. He was being held at the Loudon County Justice Center.