Two men who admitted stealing a trailer and dirt bikes early Monday morning have been charged with theft and evading arrest, and the driver of the fleeing pickup truck has been charged with aggravated assault after trying to strike one Oak Ridge Police Department vehicle and backing up and hitting another, authorities said.
Police officers received the report of the trailer and dirt bike theft at about 2:45 a.m. Monday, August 31, at 208 South Illinois Avenue, an area near two hotels. The trailer and dirt bike were estimated to have a value of at least $10,000.
In arrest warrants, ORPD Officer Kyle Scott said he saw Charles R. Eller, 27, who is listed as a transient, and Joshua R. Hannifin, 29, of Oak Ridge, at that location, near a trailer that matched the given description. The trailer was attached to a black Ford F150 pickup truck, Scott said.
When Eller and Hannifin saw him, the officer said, they quickly got into the truck and fled. Scott said he chased them with his lights and sirens on.
But Eller, the driver, refused to stop, Scott said in the warrants, which were filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Eller and Hannifin allegedly fled southbound on South Illinois Avenue at high speed.
“While fleeing, Eller swerved left and attempted to strike (Police Officer Ray) Steakley’s police vehicle,” Scott said.
He said Eller then began traveling south in the northbound lane of South Illinois Avenue near Centrifuge Way.
“Eller stopped the vehicle and immediately began driving in reverse toward (Scott’s) police vehicle,” the officer said in the warrants.
Scott said he attempted to reverse out of Eller’s way, but Eller struck his vehicle on the front left corner panel and the front right of the brush guard.
Scott said he found several syringes and a pair of latex gloves in Eller’s front left pocket during a search and learned that Eller’s license is suspended.
Steakley found burglary tools inside the F150, Scott said.
“Eller stated the vehicle was not registered to him, but he had purchased it from the previous owner and was currently making payments toward it,” the warrants said.
Scott said Eller and Hannifin both admitted stealing the trailer and dirt bikes after they had been read their Miranda rights.
Eller has been charged with theft over $10,000, two counts of aggravated assault, evading arrest, possession of burglary tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license (second).
Hannifin has been charged with theft over $10,000 and evading arrest.
Both remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Tuesday afternoon.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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