Note: This story was updated at 10:30 p.m.
The suspect in the carjacking of a van occupied by a woman in a wheelchair on Saturday, followed by a police chase and crash, was arrested after he was released from a hospital on Thursday, authorities said.
Bradley Allan Thomas, 30, of Knoxville, was arrested by Anderson County Sheriff’s Department deputies when he was released from the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said. Thomas, who was seriously injured, had been taken to UT Medical Center after the Saturday afternoon crash at Clinton Highway and Powell Drive in Knox County.
Thomas is the suspect charged in the carjacking in the parking lot of the Red Lobster restaurant on South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge on Saturday afternoon, Lucas said.
“Oak Ridge Police officers served their warrants related to the carjacking, and Thomas was also served with warrants on the pursuit by deputies,” Lucas said after Thursday’s arrest.
Thomas is being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton. His bond has been set at $375,000, Lucas said.
Thomas was booked into the jail at 4:25 p.m. Thursday, according to jail records.
The charges listed so far include especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, carjacking, evading arrest, and reckless endangerment.
In a preliminary crash report, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said it is filing its own charges. They include reckless endangerment, reckless driving, obedience to traffic control signal, failure to maintain lane, improper passing, and driving on a suspended license.
“These are all THP charges and do not include outside agencies’ pending charges,” the crash report said.
The carjacking was reported in the parking lot of the Red Lobster restaurant on South Illinois Avenue at about 1:50 p.m. Saturday, according to the Oak Ridge Police Department. During the carjacking, a female passenger, who was not injured, was forced from her wheelchair and a 2003 Chevy Venture van.
Alerted to the carjacking, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Jonathan Acker went to Oak Ridge Turnpike and Melton Lake Drive to watch for the vehicle. After a few minutes, he saw it traveling east on Oak Ridge Turnpike, and he turned to get behind it.
The driver, later identified as Thomas, began speeding up and passing cars on the shoulder, Acker said in the incident report.
“At that time, I activated my lights and siren, and notified dispatch that I was behind the vehicle,” Acker said. “The vehicle went through a red light at the intersection of Oak Ridge Highway and Oliver Springs Highway and continued east.”
Acker and an ACSD deputy followed the van through the city of Clinton, where Thomas passed vehicles in the turn lane and ran red lights, the report said.
“He turned right onto Clinch Avenue and continued to run traffic lights and pass vehicles in the turn lane at a high rate of speed,” Acker said.
The chase continued south on Clinton Highway into Knox County.
“As Bradley Thomas was running the red light at Clinton Highway and Powell Drive, Bradley Thomas struck a black Chrysler 300 sedan that was turning left into the Exxon parking lot, which spun the van into a traffic light pole,” Acker said. “The vehicle came to rest on the west side of Clinton Highway near the traffic light pole.”
A THP preliminary crash report said Thomas was driving in a reckless and unsafe manner by failing to maintain his lane, failing to obey traffic control signals, passing other vehicles improperly, and failing to exercise due care.
Thomas ran the red light at the intersection of Clinton Highway and Powell Drive, according to the THP, and hit the front end of the 2005 Chrysler 300, which was turning left at the intersection and had a green light.
After the crash, the Chevrolet Venture van continued at an angle to the right and hit a utility pole. It then struck a utility box, disabling the traffic control signals for the intersection, the THP said.
The van stopped a short distance later, the THP said.
Donna Hillard, 47, of Knoxville, was driving the Chrysler 300, and she was injured, the crash report said. The extent of her injuries was not clear from the report.
Both Hillard and Thomas were wearing seat belts.
Acker and the deputy approached the van, and they could see that Thomas was seriously injured, the ACSD report said.
“After we confirmed that there were no guns on or near the suspect, he was removed from the vehicle and placed on the ground to allow medical personnel to help the suspect,” Acker said. “A large knife was found in the driver’s floor board.”
The van, valued at $2,600, was destroyed, according to the incident report.
The vehicle’s owner, Mary Rose Jackson, told WVLT-TV in Knoxville that her daughter’s wheelchair was completely destroyed in the crash. Family friend Brad Jones set up a GoFundMe to raise money for a new wheelchair. A company called Carr Rehab has donated a new custom wheelchair for Storm, the female victim of the carjacking, and a fundraiser is now under way to help buy a new van to meet her transportation needs.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2018 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.