Note: This story was updated at 5 p.m. Aug. 24.
With four unrestrained children in the car, an East Tennessee man and woman fled from officers at speeds exceeding 100 mph on Thursday afternoon, crossing from Anderson County into Union County, and a mother allegedly urged the driver to go faster, authorities said.
The high-speed chase began at about 4:22 p.m. Thursday when Anderson County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a report of an aggravated burglary on Foster Road. They located a suspect gray Pontiac Grand Am being driven by Billy Ray Fox, 28, of Corryton, on Hickory Valley Road and Collins Gap Road.
When Deputy Shawn Bannach began pursuing Fox, he accelerated at high speed to evade capture, an incident report said. Fox drove at sustained speeds of more than 100 mph, passed vehicles across double yellow lines more than once, and failed to stop for traffic control devices, “thereby endangering the innocent motoring public,” Bannach said.
Officers pursued the car from Anderson County into Union County, and during the pursuit, the mother allegedly kept yelling for Fox to drive faster, the report said. After about 14 minutes, the Grand Am ran out of gas and pulled into a driveway on Hickory Valley Road. Fox, who was driving with a revoked license, was apprehended, the report said.
A passenger, Heather Buchanan, 27, of Luttrell, was also detained. In a press release, the Union County Sheriff’s Office described her as an accessory to the alleged burglary.
Deputies found four children in the car, and they ranged in age from 5 to 8, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said. None were wearing child safety equipment, according to Bannach’s report.
The adults were arrested and taken to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton. Between the two of them, they face a range of charges that include four counts of aggravated child abuse, evading arrest, reckless driving, speeding, no seat belts, no insurance, driving on a revoked license, improper passing, and failure to obey traffic control devices.
The children were placed into the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Eight units from Union County and one Maynardville Police Department officer helped stop Fox on Hickory Valley Road.
“Our units were able to position themselves at various intersections in front of the fleeing vehicle to restrict Fox’s avenue of escape and to aid in public safety,” the Union County Sheriff’s Office said.
Union County issued its own set of warrants against Fox, including five counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of child endangerment, driving on a revoked license (fourth offense), felony evading, reckless driving at speeds over 100 mph, failure to yield to emergency equipment, two counts of failing to obey a traffic control device, and two counts of the child restraint law.
Fox is expected to face those charges in Union County after the criminal process in Anderson County is completed.