NEWPORT—The ramp at exit 435 was closed temporarily after a vehicle caught fire following a vehicle pursuit in Newport on Thursday, Dec. 5. No injuries were reported.

Cocke County Sheriff’s officials identified the male involved in the pursuit as Franklin Ezra Shropshire, 35, Applewood Road. He was charged with evading arrest, reckless endangerment, driving while license suspended, failure to appear and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputy Blake Cupp attempted to conduct a routine traffic stop after he observed Shropshire operating a vehicle near the I-40 westbound ramp.

As Cupp activated his emergency lights, Shropshire refused to stop and continued west on Highway 25/70.

According to the report, Shropshire then turned onto the I-40 eastbound ramp at a high rate of speed.

Deputy Cupp said Shropshire was traveling at an estimated 114 m.p.h and was driving “recklessly” as he was passing vehicles in the emergency lane.

The pursuit ended at the 435 exit after Shropshire’s Nissan Moreno caught fire.

He and a female passenger, identified as Ashley Moore, were taken into custody without further incident.

Fire crews along with the Newport Police Department responded to the scene.

A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed several needles and small baggies.

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