Sullivan County chase spurs crash with Trump rally semi

Rain Smith • Oct 2, 2018 at 4:58 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Police are searching for a man who allegedly fled a traffic stop in a stolen car, was impeded by traffic related to President Donald Trump’s visit to the region, and then crashed into a semi retrieving White House equipment from Freedom Hall.

The suspect, Anthony Hammonds, 21, of Johnson City, ran across Interstate 81 from the scene of the wreck, successfully eluding officers. His passenger, Teryn Felty, 19, of Piney Flats, was taken into custody. She reportedly had a baggie of meth along with a stolen debit card and Social Security card.

Records at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office state that the incident began shortly before 8 p.m. Monday on Island Road in Blountville. Police were alerted to a vehicle at a residence that had tags stolen from an unspecified auto dealer in Johnson City. It was later discovered that the car, a 2003 Acura RX, was also previously reported as stolen out of Carter County.

An officer spotted the Acura turning off Island Road onto Highway 394. When a stop was attempted, Hammonds turned onto southbound I-81 at Exit 69. Police report that Hammonds then accelerated away at a high rate of speed, using the shoulder to pass other motorists.

Near mile marker 64, the pursuit of Hammonds encountered heavy traffic. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports rolling roadblocks were occurring in the area, while ramps were also intermittently closed. That was due to Trump’s Monday evening rally in Johnson City and anticipated return to Tri-Cities Airport to depart aboard Air Force One.

According to the SCSO, Hammonds continued to use the shoulder and emergency lanes to pass stopped vehicles. While attempting to swerve back into proper lanes of travel, he hit a 2018 Freightliner.

A preliminary crash report from the THP states the semi was en route to Freedom Hall in Johnson City. There, it was supposed to pick up White House communications equipment used during Trump’s rally.

Neither the driver of the truck, Daniel Schumacher, 66, nor his passenger, Delina Schumacher, 59, were injured. They are listed as being from Cambridge, Minn.

After the collision, Hammonds allegedly bailed from the stolen car, then ran across the median and northbound lanes of I-81. Police pursued on foot but lost contact as Hammonds descended a hill onto Shipley Ferry Road. Officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate him.

Meanwhile, the passenger in the stolen car was identified as Felty. She was apprehended without incident and discovered to have an active warrant out of Washington County for failure to report.

Upon searching the vehicle, officers allegedly found a baggie containing what was believed to be meth, along with documents and a bank card belonging to another woman. Felty reportedly claimed ownership of the drugs, netting a charge of simple possession. She was also charged with possession of stolen property.

As of early Tuesday evening, police had not located Hammonds. Warrants for his arrest were to be obtained on multiple charges including reckless endangerment and possession of stolen property. An investigation is continuing with additional charges pending.

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