An Anderson County man who allegedly took two cars by force and tried to take another in Clinton in March 2017 has been indicted on carjacking and assault charges by the Anderson County Grand Jury.
Justin Wade Welch, 31, was charged in an eight-count indictment filed April 3. At the time of the indictment, he had been jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton since March 30, 2017, the date of the alleged incident.
The charges against Welch include three counts of carjacking and one count each of attempted carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (a vehicle), evading arrest, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and resisting a stop, search, or arrest involving a weapon (a vehicle).
Charges against Welch had been waived to the Grand Jury in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on September 6.
He pleaded not guilty to the eight indicted charges in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on April 30.
Bond for Welch on the charges returned by the Grand Jury has been set at $75,000, and he was released from jail on May 4. His next court date is scheduled for July 9.
Welch, whose bond had been set higher earlier, had been charged with robbery and attempted robbery in Anderson County General Sessions Court, but those charges are not part of the indictment, which moves the case into Criminal Court. It’s not clear why the robbery charges were not included in the indictment, and Grand Jury proceedings are secret.
Arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton last year said Welch allegedly carjacked one vehicle at Clinton Towers on North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard in downtown Clinton on March 30, tried to carjack a second vehicle several blocks south at Food City on South Charles G. Seivers Boulevard, and carjacked a third vehicle on Highland Drive next to Food City.
He was accused of leading an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department deputy on a police chase down several roads in Anderson County north of Clinton before looping back onto Spring Street in north Clinton. After pulling into a driveway on Spring Street, Welch allegedly jumped out of a vehicle reported as stolen and began to run. ACSD Deputy Charles Relford used a Tazer to slow him down, according to warrants. Welch was arrested, but he continued to resist, even after other deputies arrived, the warrants said.
Arrest warrants filed by Clinton Police Department Sergeant Scott Gregory said Welch allegedly took the first vehicle from two sisters entering the vehicle at Clinton Towers on North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard. The sister who was driving told Gregory that Welch grabbed her and pulled her from the vehicle, and she was injured, according to the warrants.
In the meantime, her sister had exited the passenger side of the vehicle, the driver told Gregory. As the sister got out of the vehicle, Welch backed up and hit her, according to the warrants.
Welch then fled, the warrants said.
Medical personnel responded and took the sister who was a passenger to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge to be treated.
“Welch was located a short time later in another stolen vehicle taken in the same manner,” the warrants said. “At the time of the arrest, the victim’s keys were located in his pocket.”
The vehicle taken from Clinton Towers was located in the parking lot of Food City on South Charles G. Seivers Boulevard, where Welch had driven it and parked it, according to the warrants.
The attempted carjacking is alleged to have occurred at Food City.
Warrants filed in that case said the owner was entering the vehicle, which was running with the owner’s wife in the passenger seat, when a man, later identified as Welch, tried to enter it as the driver opened the door.
Welch began fighting the driver, trying to get into the vehicle, and the altercation continued for several moments, the warrants said.
The driver lost his balance and fell to the ground, and Welch entered the vehicle, the warrants said.
But in the meantime, the passenger, the driver’s wife, had been able to turn off the vehicle, and get out of it.
“Welch exited the vehicle after a few moments and fled west in the parking lot,” the warrants said.
The attempted carjacking was captured on the store’s surveillance system, according to warrants.
The next alleged carjacking was reported at 428 Highland Drive next to Food City. In that case, a woman told Gregory that she was inside the vehicle with the motor running when a man, later identified as Welch, ran up to her and started shouting, “Get out!”
The woman tried to close the door to keep the man from entering, but he allegedly opened the door. The woman said Welch grabbed her left arm, pulled her from the vehicle, and threw her into the yard, according to the warrants.
The man then put the vehicle into reverse, the warrants said.
A neighbor who witnessed the incident got a gun and confronted Welch, according to the warrants.
Welch placed the vehicle in drive and appeared to drive toward the female driver, who was still on the ground, the warrants said.
The neighbor said he started giving verbal commands and showed his gun, when Welch stopped driving forward and suddenly reversed the vehicle. Welch then fled in the vehicle, the warrants said.
Relford, the Sheriff’s Department deputy, saw the stolen vehicle moments later on Sulphur Springs Road, just north of downtown Clinton, and pursued it, the warrants said. The vehicle matched a description given by the CPD, and Welch was wearing a Tennessee hat, which also matched a description given by CPD, according to warrants.
Relford chased Welch down Carroll Hollow Road, where he sped up but then pulled over and stopped. When Relford got out of his patrol car, Welch allegedly sped off.
The chase continued down Pop Hollow Road and then onto Spring Street in north Clinton.
Welch jumped out of the vehicle that had allegedly been stolen from Highland Drive and ran to the rear of a home on Spring Street, according to warrants. Relford said he told Welch several times to stop. When he didn’t, Relford said he used his Tazer, which slowed down Welch.
Relford said Welch tried to hit him with his fist before he was placed in handcuffs. Welch continued to resist even after being placed in handcuffs and after other deputies arrived, Relford said in the warrants.
Deputies learned that Welch’s license was suspended for failure to pay fines in Knox County.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See earlier story here.