Couple fight at 50 mph
By Wes Wade | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Maryville man was taken into custody on several charges Thursday after allegedly assaulting a woman in his vehicle and fleeing police.
Gary John McCulloch, 46, Nine Mile Road, Maryville, was arrested on charges of felony evading arrest with a vehicle, reckless endangerment, aggravated domestic assault, leaving the scene of an accident with damage, two counts of driving on a revoked license and two charges of contempt of court.
He was being held without bond on the contempt charges pending a Monday hearing. Following that initial hearing, he will be held in lieu of $14,500 bond pending a Thursday hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court.
Blount County dispatchers notified Alcoa Police officers of a domestic assault in progress at around 10:45 a.m. Dispatchers reported the 911 caller said it appeared a male driver was assaulting a female passenger in a white Ford Taurus which was traveling north on Wright Road and approaching East Hunt Road. Dispatch also advised that it appeared the driver was punching the woman and trying to throw her from the vehicle.
Alcoa Police Officer Holly Hatcher was patrolling westbound on West Hunt Road and approaching Alcoa Highway when dispatchers put out the call and noticed a vehicle matching the given description near Ambrose Road.
Hatcher noted in the police report that the right front passenger-side door was wide open and the occupants were engaged in a physical altercation.
Hatcher turned around to follow the vehicle and initiated her lights and siren, the report states. Alcoa Officer Dustin Stevenson’s cruiser fell behind her and both officers began following the vehicle westbound on West Hunt Road.
Stevenson reported that the vehicle’s front passenger-side door was open while the vehicle was traveling at around 50 mph and that it appeared the two occupants were fighting.
As the vehicle approached the entrance to the St. Ives subdivision, Hatcher said the woman waved her arms out the open door in an apparent attempt to flag officers down.
The driver, later identified as McCulloch, finally stopped abruptly at the entrance to the subdivision and the passenger, a 47-year-old Maryville woman, jumped out of the open passenger-side door and lay down on the roadway.
Hatcher reported that with Stevenson’s cruiser positioned to her left as cover, she ran to help the woman.
McCulloch then sped away and Stevenson began another pursuit down West Hunt Road toward Louisville Road. Stevenson pursued McCulloch onto Louisville Road, then back onto West Hunt Road and eventually through the intersections of Middle Settlements and Gray Ridge roads.
Stevenson said McCulloch crossed East Lamar Alexander Parkway and continued straight before turning left onto Big Springs Road. At this point, the report states, McCulloch struck the front end of a Ford Ranger as his vehicle traveled under a bridge.
McCulloch then went through the intersection of Big Springs Road and Ross Drive, where Stevenson lost contact with the vehicle while slowing for traffic at the intersection.
The report notes that several bystanders saw McCulloch turn right onto Morganton Road, so Stevenson advised dispatchers of the situation. Dispatch then reported that Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies had located the vehicle on Wells Road and were pursuing McCulloch on foot.
Deputies lost McCulloch at one point in the chase and, as Maryville Christian Academy was located in the immediate vicinity, the school was advised of the situation and took appropriate safety measures, the report states.
A Maryville Police officer and 5th Judicial Drug Task Force investigator located McCulloch after another brief foot pursuit, finding the man hiding in the woods.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Marian O’Briant said McCulloch was found in the area of Blue Sky Drive and Morganton Road, somewhere near the back side of the Royal Oaks subdivision.
Authorities discovered McCulloch’s license had been revoked from a previous DUI conviction, so his vehicle was seized and taken to the Alcoa Police Department seizure lot.
Officer Hatcher said the woman who jumped from the vehicle said McCulloch punched her in the face and choked her during the struggle. Alcoa firefighters and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service personnel responded to the scene to render aid to the woman, who was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital.
Hospital staff had no information available on the woman as a patient, but Alcoa Police officers noted following up with the victim at the hospital and explaining her legal options. Following the visit, officers went to the Blount County Justice Center to file an aggravated domestic assault warrant against McCulloch.