Church Hill suspect capped 15 auto burglary spree with car theft, high speed chase

Jeff Bobo • Jan 17, 2020 at 9:30 AM

CHURCH HILL — Austin Blake Burchfield, who led police on a high speed chase from Hawkins County into Scott County, Virginia, early Monday morning in a stolen car, is suspected of participating in at least 15 auto burglaries over the weekend in Church Hill.

Burchfield, 21, 4533 Stanley Valley Road, Church Hill, allegedly capped a weekend of auto burglary with the theft of a 2018 Buick Encore from a residence on Nolichucky Street in Church Hill.

Shortly before 4 a.m. Monday morning, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Will Mullins spotted the Buick, which had already been reported stolen, parked in a church parking near the Hickory Hills Subdivision on Carters Valley Road.

Mullins stated in his report that Burchfield, who was driving the Buick, fled north on Hickory Hills Road, and led Mullins on a high speed pursuit reaching speeds in excess of 50 mph in a residential subdivision.

Burchfield then reportedly turned onto Morning Star Road, Shipley Road and Stanley Valley Road where he crossed eastbound into Virginia.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office had been alerted to the pursuit and was waiting for Burchfield at Vicar's Chapel Church where spike strips were deployed that blew out three tires and slowed the Buick.

Via his public address system Mullins ordered the driver to pull over and show his hands. Mullins said two female passengers on the passenger side of the Buick put their hands up and out their windows, but Burchfield didn’t stop.

Mullins stated in his report that with three flat tires Burchfield continued to flee at a slower speed, turning onto Frisco Yard Road, during which time Mullins observed someone open the drivers side rear door and begin throwing items out.

Moments later a 17-year-old male passenger rolled out of the rear passenger door and was nearly struck by Mullins. The male juvenile attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended by Mullins and MCPD Officer Chad Britton.

Scott County authorities eventually took Burchfield and the two female passengers into custody on Salisbury Lane about a half mile from where the male passenger bailed out of the Buick.

Burchfield was transported to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield on Scott County charges related to the incident, where he remained as of Thursday.

Mullins said he would be charging Burchfield with possession of stolen property, felony evading arrest, two counts of felony reckless endangerment, and driving on a suspended license.

The two females weren't charged, and the 17 year old male was charged by Scott County with evading arrest, resisting arrest, and he had an outstanding fugitive from justice warrant. The CHPD has charges pending against the juvenile as well.

Britton reportedly went back to the area where items were being thrown from the vehicle and located a .32 caliber Kel-Tec handgun.

Earlier this week Church Hill Police Department Detective Kevin Grigsby filed a warrant against Burchfield charging him with theft over $10,000 and auto burglary related to the theft of the Buick, which was valued at $30,000.

CHPD Chief Chad Mosley told the Times News Thursday that items stolen during some of the other 15 Church Hill auto burglaries were found in the stolen Buick after the pursuit.

Burchfield allegedly burgled another vehicle at the Nolichucky Street residence, and inside that vehicle found a key fob that opened the Buick. The Buick had a push button starter, which is how Burchfield was allegedly able to drive it away.

Burchfield will eventually be booked into the Hawkins County Jail on the auto theft and auto burglary charges. Mosley said charges related to the other 15 auto burglaries will be forthcoming.