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Official MPD press release on two state pursuit

From the Middlesboro Police Department -


Christopher Powell - BCDC

Wednesday March 4, 2020 Middlesboro Police Officers and Cumberland Gap National Park Rangers were advised by Middlesboro Police dispatch of a vehicle pursuit heading toward Kentucky from Claiborne County Tennessee.


Middlesboro Police dispatch was advised Tennessee authorities were in pursuit of a possible kidnapping suspect that was operating a stolen vehicle.


Officers proceeded to the location of Highway 25E and observed the fleeing vehicle – Nissan Pathfinder – traveling north bound. At one point the suspect swerved his vehicle at the officers. They then pursued the Pathfinder continuing north bound on US 256E to Pineville, Ky. where the Kentucky State Police joined the pursuit.


During the pursuit in Pineville, the suspect then traveled into the opposing lanes against oncoming traffic. Middlesboro Police Officer Jeremiah Johnson then pinned the subject’s vehicle against the guard rail to end the pursuit, due to the reckless nature of the fleeing subject.


After being stopped the suspect fled on foot and fell down a steep embankment. He then continued to resist and fight officer and troopers until he was restrained. 34 year old Christopher Powell of New Tazewell, Tennessee was the only occupant inside the vehicle.


He was taken to PCHC for medical treatment, then lodge in the Bell County Detention Center charged with:

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence – 1st degree,

5 counts of wanton endangerment – 1st degree police officer,

2 county of wanton endangerment – 1st degree

Fleeing or evading police – 1st degree (motor vehicle)

Fleeing or evading police – 1st degree (on foot)

Receiving stolen property $10,000 or more (motor vehicle)

Speeding 26mph or more over the speed limit,

Leaving the scene of an accident – failure to render aid or assistance,

Resisting arrest,

3 counts of assault 3rd degree police or probation officer,

Operating a vehicle with an expired operator’s license,

Disorderly conduct – 2nd degree,

Possession of controlled substance – 1st degree, 1st offense (Methamphetamine),

Buying/possessing drug paraphernalia,

4 counts of disregarding a traffic control device.


WRIL is still awaiting information from the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department on his Tennessee charges.

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