An Anderson County man allegedly fled a crash where his juvenile son, who was partially ejected and injured, was trapped between a van and a barn, and the man later fled from a hospital nude, authorities said.
The crash was reported at about 11:29 p.m. Saturday, September 3, on Old Lake City Highway.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Jacob Daniel Baxter, 33, of Black Oak Road in Anderson County, was driving west in a white 1999 Dodge Caravan on Old Lake City Highway when he lost control while going round a curve. The van went off the right side of the road and stopped at a metal barn on the side of the road, according to the THP.
A 15-year-old boy, who is identified as Baxter’s son, was trapped between the van and the barn, according to arrest warrants filed by the THP in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I, in Clinton.
While Anderson County Rescue Squad personnel were helping to remove the trapped boy, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Isaiah Lloyd began searching for the driver.
A witness who was the first to arrive at the crash site said the victim’s father was the driver of the Dodge Caravan, and he had fled, leaving his son behind, Lloyd said in the warrants.
An Anderson County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit was called, and Corporal Rick Coley and his K-9 Justus arrived to track the driver, who was later identified as Jacob Baxter, according to the warrants.
Baxter was found in a wood line a few hundred yards from the crash site, Lloyd said.
Baxter was emitting a “strong odor of alcohol and had an angry demeanor,” Lloyd wrote.
The THP said Baxter and his son were both injured, and neither one was wearing a seat belt.
The boy was flown by a Lifestar medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.
The THP said the boy was treated and then released on Monday, September 5 (Labor Day).
When he was captured after allegedly fleeing the crash, Baxter was detained and checked out by an emergency medical crew, Lloyd said.
“While being escorted to the ambulance, the defendant could not walk a straight line, continuously stumbled, had slurred speech, and bloodshot eyes, all signs of impairment,” Lloyd said.
“When we arrived at the ambulance, the defendant (Baxter) was being very uncooperative and would not stop yelling,” Lloyd said. “Based upon the observation of speech, eye condition, and odor of alcohol omitting from Mr. Baxter, the driver of the vehicle appeared to be impaired. From the totality of the circumstances, the results indicated that the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle were impaired beyond legal limits, and normal clearness of mind was altered.”
Baxter was taken to the UT Medical Center, Lloyd said.
But once at the hospital, he fled while nude, Lloyd said.
Authorities started searching for Baxter again. Those involved included the THP, UT Police Department, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Rescue, and a helicopter, according to the warrants.
The UT Police found Baxter at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, September 4, Lloyd said. He was walking next to a building wearing a fleece jacket as pants and a shirt inside out, and he was carrying a Dell computer with a University of Tennessee property tag on it and a black case with a set of Nikon binoculars, the warrants said.
Baxter was detained again, taken to the emergency room to be cleared, and then transported to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, where he remained jailed a week later (Sunday, September 11).
Charges and citations against Baxter include reckless endangerment; vehicular assault; leaving the scene of a crash with injury; failure to report a crash; failure to maintain control; burglary; theft over $1,000; driving under the influence (second offense); driving on a revoked license (third offense); and violations of the seat belt, registration, and financial responsibility laws, according to the THP and the warrants.
Lloyd said he learned, while checking the driver’s information the night of the crash, that Baxter’s license had been revoked because of a driving-under-the influence offense.
Baxter has a hearing set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 14, in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I, in Clinton.
He is also facing two charges from a separate crash earlier this year. In that incident, he allegedly fled after a collision on North Main Street in Clinton on March 19.
In that crash, Clinton Police Department Patrolman Bradley Kidwell reported that the vehicle of a man pumping gas at the Exxon station on North Main Street was struck by a white Dodge Caravan that lost a tire and came across the parking lot before striking his parked vehicle.
A man identified as Jacob Baxter was driving, but he fled before officers arrived, Kidwell wrote in warrants filed in April in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I.
A woman in the van told Kidwell that Baxter was driving the van even though he had a revoked driver’s license, according to the warrants.
In that case, Baxter was charged with accidents involving damage to a vehicle and driving on a revoked license.
Besides the THP, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and Anderson County Rescue Squad, other agencies that responded to the September 3 crash on Old Lake City Highway were Anderson County EMS and Medford Volunteer Fire Department.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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