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Protocols followed in deadly pursuit

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By The Staff

By JENNIFER RAYMOND

rcraymond@bellsouth.net

A review of a Dec. 29, 2007, vehicle pursuit between Kingston police officers and a Lenoir City man has been completed and found that protocols were correctly followed.

The pursuit ended in a fatal crash, leaving the man, Johnnie B. Ambrose, dead and causing injuries to the driver of the second car involved.

The investigation was led by District Attorney General Russell Johnson and Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam and included a report by the Tennessee Highway Patrol Critical Incident Response Team.

Two Tennessee Highway Patrol teams — the Critical Incident Response Team and the Criminal Investigation Unit —were called to the scene that night to investigate.

On the night of the accident, police were in pursuit of Ambrose after receiving a call to go to Scot Market on Morrison Hill, where Ambrose was trying to lure teenage boys into his car and offering them illegal drugs, according to the report.

The report continued that police tried to block Ambrose’s car, but he backed out almost hitting the patrol car. He then sped out of the parking lot and headed eastbound on Hwy. 70.

Apparently officers lost sight of Ambrose after he rounded a curve at Victory Baptist Church.

Ambrose was at a curve just east of Kingston Elementary School when his car ran off the road, struck a guardrail and careened into the westbound lane.

Ambrose’s Cadillac Eldorado then hit an oncoming Saturn Vue driven by Patricia Terry of Harriman. Terry was flown by LifeStar to University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

According to the Critical Incident Response Team’s report, it was determined that Ambrose was going 79 mph and the Saturn was going 54 mph.

As part of the investigation, blood-alcohol tests were performed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Ambrose’s level was positive, and Terry’s was negative.

The report stated, “It’s my opinion that the alcohol impairment and the reckless negligence on the part of Johnnie B. Ambrose contributed to his inability to properly control his vehicle, resulting in the crash that claimed his life.”