NEWPORT— A Memphis man is facing several charges after a bizarre series of events that first began at the Waterville exit. The subsequent pursuit ended on East Highway 25/70 in Bridgeport on Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Law enforcement officials identified the male as Austyn J. Glass, 31, Memphis. Glass was apprehended following the pursuit. No injuries were reported.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Bill Miller said he spoke with Patrick Lewis, 52, Michigan, who said while he was getting fuel at a gas station off Exit 451 in Waterville, he noticed a male subject, identified as Glass, get inside the U-Haul that Lewis was driving and attempted to drive off.
Lewis said when he confronted Glass, he reportedly exited the U-Haul and got back in his white Nissan Altima and fled the scene.
Lewis said Glass was last seen traveling westbound on Interstate 40.
Not long after the attempted U-Haul theft, deputies were called to the 440 Truck Stop on Highway 73 in reference to a burglar alarm.
Upon arrival, Deputy Brock Hannah said he observed damage to the front doors of the business with no suspects around.
Deputy Hannah then spoke with the owner and they reviewed the video surveillance.
The video showed the front doors of the business were damaged by the same white Nissan operated by Glass.
According to the report, deputies observed Glass push over a Red Bull mini refrigerator along with other items on shelves. Glass then grabbed a bottle of Michelob Ultra out of the cooler and began drinking it.
Deputy Hannah reported that Glass was seen answering the store’s telephone and speaking with the alarm company.
Before exiting the store, Glass grabbed a pack of cigarettes.
He entered the store a second time to grab a lighter before leaving the scene.
Attempted theft at Weigel’s
As the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office was responding to the two incidents at the Waterville Exit and 440 Truck Stop, the Newport Police Department was dispatched to Weigel’s after a male, identified as Glass, heavily damaged a vehicle and attempted to drive off in it.
While en route, Newport Police Sgt. Derek Wright observed the Nissan Altima traveling north on Cosby Highway.
Sgt. Wright said he attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Glass did not stop and continued on Broadway and then Main Street where he struck Newport Police Captain Brad Ball head-on.
After the collision, Glass drove across the railroad tracks near Woodlawn Avenue.
Sgt. Wright reported at one point, Glass was driving on the railroad tracks.
The pursuit then continued through Main Street, North Street and McMahan Avenue before Glass turned on East Highway 25/70.
The pursuit came to an end after Cocke County Sheriff Lt. Michael Whitmer performed a PIT maneuver on Glass’s vehicle.
Glass was then taken into custody.
Sgt. Wright reported officers then went back to Weigel’s where they spoke with victims, Ida and Sarah Surya.
The victims advised officers that while they were inside Weigel’s, Glass approached them and asked which gas pump they were at.
The victims pointed to their Dodge Journey and continued shopping.
At that time, Glass took a fuel handle and attempted to break out a window on the Dodge Journey.
After a failed attempt, Glass approached another customer and asked if they had anything he could use to get inside his vehicle.
Glass was then given a stick and he began breaking out the windows before leaving the scene.
Glass is facing charges of failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, improper lane change, failure to comply with emergency lights, reckless driving, evading arrest, attempted theft of property $10,000-$60,000, burglary of auto, vandalism $1,000-$10,000, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, theft of property over $10,000, burglary, theft of property, vandalism over $10,000 and leaving the scene of an accident.