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One arrested on a gun charge escapes and is apprehended after ramming an officer with stolen truck

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

From WRIL -

Austin Snowden - BCDC

On Sunday November 10, 2019 a short time after 9:00am Middlesboro Dispatch received a domestic call at residence on east Chester Avenue involving a gun. According to citations - upon arrival, Officers Joel Quillen, Sgt. Josh Harris, and Lt. Joe Holder discovered that man previously convicted of a felony - identified as 25 year old Austin Snowden of Middlesboro - had been in possession of and hid a Taurus pistol near a floor fan. The gun was recovered, and Snowden was arrested.


Once at Middlesboro Police headquarters, Snowden attempted to slip out of the handcuffs on the holding bench. Officer Quillen went to take Snowden to the holding cell and he began fighting the officer. He was pepper sprayed by the officer who then took him to the ground and the struggle Snowden grabbed the officer’s pepper spray discharging it on Quillen. He was then placed in the holding cell.


Snowden was transported to the Bell County Detention Center for booking and was charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, escape – 2nd degree, and assault – 3rd degree police officer.


At approximately 1:00 pm while being booked at the facility, Snowden escaped from the detention center. He then stole the 2003 red Chevrolet Silverado belonging to James Butch Sams of Pineville. A search for Snowden ensued involving area law enforcement including the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, Knox County Sheriff’s Department, and Pineville Police Department.


Pineville Officer Brandon Hollingsworth states in his citation that a pursuit of Snowden led to Highway 2077. Officer Curtis Pingleton had been following the progress of the search for Snowden and spotted him near East Jellico Church on Dean Hill Road. After being seen by Hollingsworth, Snowden attempted to leave the area and drove directly at the officer. While driving at Hollingsworth, Snowden was seen with a gun in his hand pointing it at the officer. He also pointed the gun at officer Pingelton and rammed the officer’s vehicle losing control of the stolen Silverado which travelled down an embankment coming to rest in a field.


Snowden fled the scene on foot with the gun belonging to James Sams that had been in the truck, throwing it as he ran. Officer Hollingsworth then began a foot pursuit and caught Snowden a short time later. The gun was found in the weeds by Hollingsworth after Snowden was in custody.


Austin Snowden was returned to the Bell County Detention Center where he is lodged.


Additional charges by Trooper Don Perry and Pineville Police Officer Hollingsworth are escape – 2nd degree, theft by unlawful taking under $10,000, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, tampering with physical evidence, 2 counts of criminal mischief – 1st degree, fleeing or evading police – 1st degree (motor vehicle), fleeing or evading police – 2nd degree (on foot), 2 counts of wanton endangerment – 1st degree police officer, resisting arrest, and assault – 3rd degree police officer.

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