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Three high-speed chases keep local officers busy

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

The first one involving a red Dodge Charger occurred Tuesday afternoon; the second occurred early Wednesday morning involving a motorcycle, and the third occurred later Wednesday involving pursuit of a female driver “wearing only a thong,” according to police.

Sarah Higgins, 18

Sarah Higgins, 18

The first incident began Tuesday afternoon with a three-county chase that began in Bedford County, continued into Moore County and Tullahoma and then out into Coffee County, according to police reports, and resulted in the arrests of two Coffee County residents on methamphetamine charges.

James Joseph Jones, 49, of Prairie Plains Road, Hillsboro, was charged with promotion of meth manufacturing, criminal conspiracy to promote meth, reckless endangerment, evading arrest by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and driving on suspended license.

His companion, Brittany Leeann Baker, 21, of Highland Lane, Tullahoma, was charged with promotion of meth manufacturing.

After a chase that lasted more than 30 minutes, the two were apprehended behind a house on Carter Blake Road.

According to The Shelbyville Times-Gazette, the chase began on Highway 41A after Jones fled from members of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force attempting to stop the two suspects who had stopped at a convenience store.

The driver, identified as Jones, then allegedly backed up and almost ran over one of the task force members and struck his vehicle.

According to the article, Jones then drove into the driveway of a private residence, went around the house and back onto the highway, heading south toward Tullahoma. The vehicle was traveling at speeds of 80 to 90 mph through Moore County on 41A and continued south into Normandy.

The task force members reportedly then lost sight of the vehicle until a citizen flagged officers over and told them that the car was behind the old school in Normandy.

Jones then drove out from behind the building and nearly struck the officers. He drove through a yard and the pursuit continued on Normandy Road south into Coffee County. 

Tullahoma police reportedly also attempted to stop the car, but Jones was able to elude them as well as other officers. He was chased onto Carter Blake Road but a task force member told the Shelbyville newspaper they lost sight of the car again.

Police then set up a perimeter and continued the search.

When he was finally captured in Bedford County, Jones was allegedly in possession of pseudoephedrine. He allegedly told officers that he had planned to give it to someone else.

Jones and Baker are being held in the Bedford County Jail. His bond is $161,000, and Baker’s is $75,000.

Motorcycle chase

On Wednesday morning, a high-speed chase involved a motorcycle and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Warrants have been issued for a Nashville man after he allegedly led a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper on a high-speed chase on Interstate 24 through Manchester.

Warrants were obtained for David W. Wilson, 29, of Nashville, charged with felony evading, driving on a revoked driver’s license, resisting stop/halt/frisk, leaving the scene of accident, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, improper passing, registration violation, no insurance and speeding.

According to a report by Trooper Jason Boles, around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, Boles was operating radar at the 103-mile marker on the eastbound side of I-24 when two motorcycles passed him traveling at a speed of 83 mph.

The trooper said he gave pursuit and caught up with them at mile-marker 106 traveling in excess of 100 mph. The trooper then attempted to stop them, but one of the cyclists proceeded to pass other vehicles on the shoulder of the roadway and was driving erratically to flee.

The other motorcycle rider was detained and charged with speeding, according to the report.

The fleeing rider then left the interstate at exit 110 and traveled south on State Highway 53 toward Highway 41 with the trooper still in pursuit. Boles said he then passed the motorcycle in an attempt to stop the vehicle but the rider left the roadway and crossed the median, after which he then lost control of the motorcycle and crashed.

According to the trooper, the man then ran into a wooded area, and although Boles was unable to catch him he later obtained his identity.

The pursuit was joined at one time by Manchester police and a Coffee County sheriff’s deputy. 

Pursuit results in

indecent exposure charge

The third pursuit allegedly involving an almost nude women occurred Wednesday, and after she was apprehended she was charged with indecent exposure.

That chase began after employees of the Manchester Recreation Department notified police that a woman had left the recreation center wearing “nothing but a thong.”

Employees of the center stated that the woman had been running down the halls and upstairs at the rec center wearing “just the thong.”

According to the report, Manchester Police Department officer Matthew Aussiker spotted the woman in a yellow Chevrolet Cobalt turning onto Highway 41 from Highway 53. He began to follow the vehicle on McArthur Street and observed the car traveling westerly, crossing into the turning lane and “driving carelessly.” The driver allegedly made an improper lane change and cut in front of another vehicle.

The officer said he followed the vehicle to near the Communications Center on Highway 55 and activated his blue lights.

The driver then, according to the police report, accelerated at speeds to 80 miles an hour. He said he saw her throw something out of a window that appeared to be a towel.

The pursuit continued toward Tullahoma and at the old National Guard Armory the driver made a U-turn and began to travel back toward Manchester, according to the report.

As they approached the communications center, Aussiker got in front of the car and began to slow down, causing the woman to slow down as well. She then turned at the convenience center and officer Bryan Eldridge pulled in front of her to block her. She then began to back her car up, and other officers acted immediately to further block the vehicle.

The woman, identified as Sarah Higgins, 18, of 1733 Elrod Road, Manchester, was found to still be wearing only the thong that she had been wearing at the recreation center.

She was charged with indecent exposure, reckless endangerment and evading arrest. She was transported to the Coffee County Jail where officers were met by a female corrections officer who put clothing on Higgins in the privacy of the back of a patrol car before taking her into the jail, according to the report.

Higgins is being held in the Coffee County Jail under $7,500 bond.

Wayne Thomas may be reached by email at