Wild ride in stolen truck ends in arrest for four young men

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If it was a party, it was an expensive and dangerous one.

Four young men in a stolen pickup truck crashed head-on with a car in Oliver Springs, raced away and led police on a high-speed chase while driving through business parking lots and private yards before wrecking the truck on a utility pole guy line.

They weren’t done, yet.

The occupants jumped from the truck and ran, chased by Oliver Springs officer Ricky Hamby and Capt. Brad Aytes, police reports said. They ran from Midway Drive through a residential area until they got to Ray Drive.

They jumped into a pond but after a few minutes, apparently realizing they could not swim to freedom, gave themselves up and were taken into police custody.

The whole caper started Sept. 25 on an otherwise routine Sunday afternoon. Hamby and Aytes responded to a call at 5:14 p.m. that there had been a hit-and-run collision on Joel Road.

The officers spotted the white Chevrolet pickup truck and gave chase.

The driver refused to stop. Instead he sped up and drove through parking lots and yards, damaging fences, yards and gardens in the process, the report said.

The driver, Bradley C. Lee, 18, of Knoxville, faces 12 charges arising from the wreck and chase.

During a search of the men, the report said, officers found two marijuana joints in Lee’s hat, and a pipe containing marijuana in the pants pocket of 22-year-old James A. Bailey, of Powell, one of the passengers.

The 17-year-olds were not named in the police report because they are juveniles.

Oliver Springs police charged Lee with two counts each of reckless endangerment,  contributing to the delinquency of a minor and resisting arrest and one count each of car theft, reckless driving, vandalism, simple possession of marijuana, hit and run and evading arrest.

He was jailed in Anderson County under $32,000 bond.

The officers found out that the pickup truck was stolen from the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department.

Patrolman Hamby estimated property damage of $1,000 to a 60-foot chain link fence, $500 to a muscadine vine and $100 to a mailbox.