A Surgoinsville man in possession of a stolen vehicle led Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office deputies into Scott County, Va. before being apprehended Monday.
Austin Burchfield, 21, of Colonial Road, Surgoinsville, was charged with possession of stolen property and evading arrest. He is being held in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, Virginia.
Deputy Will Mullins, of the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, was patrolling the Carters Valley area due to recent string of stolen automobiles and burglaries. Mullins received information the suspects was driving a 2018 Buick Encore that had been stolen. As Mullins came out of Hickory Hill Subdivision, he observed the Encore and a golf cart parked next to each other in the parking lot at The Promise Church.
After Mullins confirmed that the Encore was the vehicle stolen, the suspects fled north on Hickory Hills Road, driving at speeds up to 51 miles per hour. The Encore continued and turned north onto Morningstar Road, then turned east onto Shipley Road still traveling at high speeds. The Encore continued onto Mount Pleasant Road, then east onto Stanley Valley Road where it crossed the state border into Scott County, Virginia.
Scott County Sheriff’s Office deputies were standing by at Vicar’s Chapel Church where spike strips were set up and deployed successfully. Mullins, who had backed off the Encore as it went into Scott County, picked up pursuit again when the Encore turned north onto Frisco Yard Road when it was slowing its speed due to three flat tires. Scott County Sheriff’s deputies and officer Chad Britton, of the Mount Carmel Police Department, had also joined the pursuit. As the chase approached Haynes Valley Road, Mullins told the driver of the Encore via public address system to pull over and show his hands. Two women passengers put their hands up outside their windows as in giving up.
As the pursuit was continuing, the driver’s side rear door opened with papers being thrown from the Encore. Mullins was keeping a safe distance due to information received that one of the people in the car had possibly fired shots at a vehicle in the same area where the pursuit was being conducted. The Encore then turned onto Yuma Road and the rear passenger on the driver’s side of the Encore, identified as a juvenile, (Dystin Johnson), jumped out of the vehicle which was rolling directly in front of Mullins’ cruiser. Mullins was able to stop the cruiser before hitting Johnson, who was running up an embankment near the intersection when Mullins and Britton were able to catch Johnson on the ground and handcuffed him.
Meanwhile, Scott County authorities took over pursuit of the Encore, ending on Salisbury Lane, a half mile from where Johnson had jumped out. Burchfield was also charged by Scott County for eluding and other charges. Burchfield will face additional charges in Hawkins County for possession of stolen property, felony evading arrest, two counts of felony reckless endangerment and driving on a suspended driver’s license.
According to release by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, there were various drugs seized from the vehicle, including small amounts methamphetamine, marijuana and 28 Knonopin pills.
The two women in the Encore were not arrested and were taken to Church Hill Police Department and gave a statement to Det. Kevin Grigsby in reference to another incident.
A Kel-Tec .32 caliber gun was later found at the scene where Burchfield had jumped out of the Encore. The gun, which was turned over to Det. Grigsby, was believed to be stolen in an auto burglary on Jan. 12 in Church Hill.
The juvenile was wanted for armed carjacking in Tennessee, according to Scott County authorities.