The Tennessee Highway Patrol has released information on the Saturday night crashes in Oak Ridge that ended a high-speed chase, caused one vehicle to overturn, and sent two people to a hospital.
The chase started in Kingston late Saturday night after the suspect, Austin Cody Burns, 21, of Tellico Plains, nearly collided head-on with a vehicle driven by a deputy, the Roane County Sheriff’s Office reported. Burns allegedly fled from Roane County and Kingston Police Department officers at speeds that exceeded 90 mph.
Shortly after entering Oak Ridge, he struck the passenger side of one vehicle, but the occupant was not injured, the report said. He then crashed into another vehicle, and passengers in that vehicle suffered significant injuries and had to be taken to Methodist Medical Center.
The THP report said all three vehicles were traveling north on State Route 95, also known as Oak Ridge Turnpike, near Wiltshire Drive at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The 1991 Ford pickup truck driven by Burns allegedly sideswiped the right side of a 2009 Toyota driven by Swaroop Suhas Pophale, 29, of Houston, Texas. She was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
Burns was driving on the right shoulder when he passed the Toyota, and he continued north, striking the rear of a 1999 Ford van driven in the left lane by Linda L. Adkins, 63, of Oliver Springs, the THP report said. The van overturned and ended up in the southbound lanes and median.
Adkins and her passenger, Laurie Reynolds Renager, 44, of Clinton, were both wearing seat belts, but they were injured and taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center.
The THP report said the pickup driven by Burns, which he allegedly stole from his ex-girlfriend, continued north after the second crash and ran into trees on the shoulder of the road before it stopped.
Burns fled, and charges are pending, the THP said.
Roane County Deputy Vianney Del Toro said Burns ignored stop signs during the Saturday night chase, traveled on both sides of the road, and drove aggressively toward officers about a half-dozen times as they tried to box him in on Gallaher Road.
“In one of these incidents, the suspect attempted to strike my patrol car, causing me to go into oncoming traffic, almost colliding with two oncoming vehicles,” Del Toro said.
The Roane County Sheriff’s Office report said Burns is being charged with felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.
The Oak Ridge crashes were investigated by THP Trooper Teresa Brown.
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