KINGSPORT — Police were searching for two suspects late Friday night who flipped a stolen pickup on Lewis Lane while being pursued by the truck's owner and then fled on foot as the truck burst into flames.
The truck went over the guardrail at a curve, flipped and burst into flames just outside the Kingsport city limits on Lewis Lane, about a quarter mile north of the Rocky Hill Lane intersection.
A witness who was a passenger in the pursuing vehicle told the Times News at least one of the suspects was female. He thought the second suspect could be female as well, but he couldn't tell for sure.
Lewis Lane was closed north of Rocky Hill Lane while the Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department battled the flames. The truck was burning directly beneath power lines, which resulted in a power outage in the area and response from AEP.
Tony Rogers, who resides in the Lynn Garden area, told the Times News that two pickups were stolen Thursday night from the Carters Valley driveway of his friend "Jack," who was driving the pursuing car when the crash occurred.
The second stolen pickup belongs to Jack's brother-in-law, the man in the passenger seat of the pursuing car. That pickup was located Friday morning wrecked on its roof in the Carters Valley community, Rogers said.
Rogers said he and his wife were leaving the Lowe’s on West Stone Drive when Jack's stolen truck drove past them.
"We pulled out and followed it, but we lost track of it," Rogers said. "Later on, I got out in the truck ... and I pulled into Parkers Chapel Church (in Bear Town) and there sat the truck. The truck took off and I made chase and called 911, and I followed it all the way over to Lynn Garden Drive, and when we got in traffic I lost sight of it."
Rogers added, "About 30 minutes ago, I called Jack, the owner of the truck, and he said, ‘We’re behind him now.’ He said, ‘I found him.’ He said, ‘We're going up Lewis Lane.’ Well, the phone cut off. Ten minutes later he called back and said, ‘Tony, they’ve flipped the truck and the truck's on fire, and two people got out and ran.”
The passenger in the pursuing vehicle, who asked not to be named, said he and Jack spotted the stolen pickup in the West Stone Drive Walmart parking lot.
"They passed us right in the parking lot," he said.
"We definitely know it was one woman," the passenger said. "Jack thinks he saw another woman but I can't swear to that."
He said he was in contact with a 911 dispatcher from the time they spotted the truck until the first responders arrived after the crash.
"They took off like a bat out of hell coming up here (on Lewis Lane)," the passenger said. "They (the dispatcher) said, ‘Were you chasing them?’ I said ‘No. We were following them. We were just following them. They ran two red lights.’ "