Cocke County vehicle theft suspect leads officers on 2 county chase

Ezekial Thompson (source: Cocke County Sheriff's Office)

NEWPORT (WATE) – Officers from five agencies banded together Tuesday to capture a man suspected of stealing a vehicle in Cocke County and then leading officers on a pursuit across two counties.

A Cocke County Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to a Shell gas station at 1330 West Highway 25/70 on Tuesday morning about the theft of a red 2003 Ford F150 pickup truck. The owner said he went into the gas station to buy something and when he came out, the truck was gone.

A deputy was able to identify the suspect as Ezekiel Thompson, 25, of Newport. The deputy spotted the truck around 10:55 a.m. at the intersection of Old Highway 411 and Highway 25/70 with Thompson behind the wheel. The deputy and a Newport police officer pursued the vehicle into Jefferson County at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour.

At some point, a constable joined in the pursuit. The sheriff’s office says Thompson tried turn onto Old Newport Highway in Jefferson County, but crashed into a field. He ran from the vehicle, but the constable took two passengers into custody.

The other two officers ran after Thompson towards Interstate 40. They lost sight of Thompson and called for help from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Officers then began an extensive search of the nearby area with the assistance of a THP helicopter.

A couple told a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer they had seen Thompson in the Sunset Harbor subdivision in Jefferson County. A trooper in the helicopter spotted Thompson and told the other officers where he was. Another trooper then began running after him, along with a Cocke County narcotics officer. They chased Thompson from the Sunset Harbor subdivision into the Plantation Shores subdivision where officers say Thompson tried to break into a house.

Officers confronted Thompson and he threatened them by reaching toward his waist as though he had a gun. A physical altercation ensued as Thompson resisted arrest. Officers were eventually able to take him into custody.

Thompson faces a number of charges in both counties. In Cocke County, he faces charges of felony fleeing to evade arrest and theft over $2,500. In Jefferson County, he faces charges of resisting arrest, evading arrest on foot, driving on a revoked driver’s license, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to notify authorities of a traffic crash.


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