Attempted robbery, carjacking, and aggravated assault charges against an Oliver Springs woman were sent to a grand jury for its consideration after a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on Tuesday.
Charges against Sheila K. Jones, 43, of Henley Circle, also include evading arrest, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and driving on a revoked license.
Jones had allegedly been a passenger in a vehicle in May when she allegedly climbed on top of the driver, Deborah G. Russell of Oliver Springs, who had said she was going home. Jones allegedly pressed Russell’s right leg down to the gas pedal and grabbed the steering wheel to prevent Russell from turning near the intersection of Tulsa Road and South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge, according to affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court on May 11.
“The victim (Russell) indicated that the defendant (Jones) started saying things such as ‘I’ll beat your ass’ and ‘I’ll blow your brains out,” the affidavits said. “After the defendant put the vehicle in park, the victim released her seatbelt, and the defendant opened and shoved the victim out of the driver’s door. The victim was still ‘hung’ in the seatbelt, until it finally came off, and the defendant shouted, ‘You made me do this!'”
At that point, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Cory Strange saw the vehicle—an older model gold vehicle that had been stopped next to an apparent pedestrian—spin its rear tires and make a hasty illegal U-turn in the middle of ORAU Way, according to the affidavits.
The vehicle then proceeded through the intersection, eastbound on Tulsa Road, Strange said in the affidavits. He turned on his emergency lights to try to stop the vehicle. As the gold vehicle passed Strange, he saw a white female with dark hair in the driver’s seat, the affidavits said.
Strange got behind the vehicle and turned on his siren as the fleeing vehicle appeared to increase its speed.
“Ultimately, the vehicle failed to yield, and the affiant (Strange) was forced to stop the pursuit as the driver was traveling at high rates of speed and driving recklessly,” the affidavits said. “It was later learned that the defendant actually just carjacked the vehicle from the victim after assaulting her.”
Russell told police that she had feared for her life during the alleged crime. She said the defendant had said her name was “Sheila,” and Russell identified Jones in a photo lineup, Strange said.
A warrant charging Jones with robbery and filed by Strange on July 25 said Russell had been at the drive-through at Arby’s at about 10 p.m. May 10 when Jones got into her front passenger seat.
“The defendant (Jones) entered the vehicle due to the window being down on that particular door,” that affidavit said. “The defendant stated she needed a gas can and $7-$8 in money. When the victim told the defendant that she did not have the cash, the defendant stated to her, ‘Go to an ATM and get the damn money.’ The victim eventually went to Enrichment Federal Credit Union and withdrew $20 in cash that was given to the defendant.”
In a separate chase on May 10, ORPD Officer Perry Lewis responded to a complaint of a reckless driver in the Scarboro neighborhood. A woman said she had Jones blocked in at South Benedict Avenue and Spelman Avenue, according to affidavits filed by Lewis on May 10.
After surveying the area, Lewis pulled up behind the vehicle, a gold-colored Mercury Marquis. Jones was the only occupant and when she noticed Lewis, she fled at high speed up South Benedict Avenue, the affidavits said.
“I initiated my emergency equipment and pursued the defendant through several streets in the Scarboro community as I had prior knowledge of the defendant having a suspended license and felony warrants on file,” Lewis said. “The defendant ran several stop signs within the neighborhood, with no regard to the safety of others around her. Per the direction of my supervision, I discontinued my pursuit of the defendant. The defendant continued to travel at a high rate of speed down Tuskegee Drive in the wrong lane of travel, almost striking Oak Ridge Police Officer Jeremy Phillips’ vehicle in the process.”
ORPD Dispatch confirmed that Jones’ license had been suspended on March 28, 2015, in Anderson County, and the Mercury Marquis had been reported stolen in Oak Ridge on May 9, the affidavits said.
In other affidavits filed in May, ORPD Officer Ray Faircloth said he saw Jones drive a vehicle while her driver’s license was revoked. She was driving recklessly when she pulled into the oncoming lane on South Illinois Avenue at Rutgers Avenue on May 9, Faircloth said. Jones allegedly entered the intersection and turned left against a red traffic signal at high speed. She ignored and failed to yield and stop for his blue emergency lights and siren, Faircloth said. Jones fled northbound through a parking lot then westbound onto Tuskegee Drive and north onto East Tulsa Road, ran a red light at East Tulsa and South Illinois at high speed, continued north on ORAU Way, and then ran a red light at Oak Ridge Turnpike at high speed, the affidavits said.
Jones had six prior convictions dating back to 2007 for driving on a suspended or revoked license, Faircloth said.
The specific charges bound over to the Anderson County Grand Jury include carjacking, aggravated assault, evading arrest, evading, reckless endangerment, driving on a suspended license, two counts of reckless driving, assault, and driving while license revoked.
The robbery charge was bound over to the grand jury as attempted robbery.
Charges that were dismissed after Tuesday’s preliminary hearing include felony evading by motor vehicle, driving on a revoked license (7th offense), and reckless driving.
If Jones is indicted by the grand jury, her case would be moved into Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
Bond for Jones has been set at $110,000. She remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday morning.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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