Trucker kills intruder in West Knox County

Loudon County resident James Hodges talks about the pride he felt when he earned his GED in jail through Knox County Schools Adult Education program at Historic Knoxville High School on Dec. 16, 2008. Hodges was shot dead at 2:30am, March 11, 2009 as he tried to break in a semi-tractor trailer at 10720 Lexington Drive while the driver was asleep in the sleeper cabin.
KNOXVILLE - Authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a man who allegedly tried to enter a parked tractor-trailer rig in West Knox County.

Knox County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Martha Dooley said the incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. at a warehouse parking lot at 10720 Lexington Drive, which runs off of Lovell Road.

Killed was James Edward Hodges Jr., 34, of Loudon, according to Dooley.

He was trying to break into a tractor-trailer while the driver was asleep in the truck's sleeper cabin, Dooley said.

Hodges had approached the truck earlier and tried to open its door, Dooley said. He returned a short time later and broke out a window with a rock.

He left again after breaking out the window.

"The suspect returned and was attempting to climb into the truck when the truck driver shot him," Dooley said. Hodges was dead at the scene.

The truck driver, 68, was taken to Baptist Hospital West with chest pains and is expected to be admitted, Dooley said.

He lives out of state and his name is being withheld until his family can be reached.

Detectives will be meeting with the Knox County District Attorney General's Office later today to discuss if there will be any charges. A female family member was riding with Hodges during the incident.

Hodges has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1992 for burglary, numerous thefts, driving under the influence, drug charges, aggravated assault, numerous failures to appear, unlawful possession of a weapon, driving while privilege revoked, criminal trespassing, violation of probation, possession of burglary tools.

He also is wanted in other counties for theft and other charges.