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Charges against ‘Good Samaritan’ remain up in air

The fate of a would-be vigilante could be in the hands of the Knox County District Attorney’s Office pending an investigation by Knoxville Police.

Kevin Edwards, 33, engaged in chase of a suspected car thief after the suspect passed through a subdivision where Edwards was believed to have been working, which resulted in a collision with a motorist’s vehicle at the intersection of Parkside Drive and Lovell Road Friday morning, Feb. 18, Knox County Sheriff’s Department officials said.

KCSD spokesperson Martha Dooley said the events that led to the chase unfolded when, Christopher Watts, 19, of 114 Carriage Place in Clinton, went to the Oak Ridge Lincoln Mercury dealership where he stole a BMW car around 8:30 this morning. The theft was BOLO’d to Knox County at 8:55 a.m.

Dooley said Knox County Deputy, J. D. Ferguson, spotted the stolen vehicle at a gas station on Hardin Valley Road. The suspect pulled out of the gas station and passed the officer, who then saw that the car did not have tags. Ferguson followed Watts, but lost him when he turned into a subdivision off Hardin Valley Road.

A work crew at the subdivision pointed that Watts had pulled in. As the suspect left the subdivision, the officer tried to block him with his car, but the suspect pulled around him and got on Pellissippi Parkway. From Pellissippi Parkway, the suspect traveled to Lovell Road.

Edwards, who was driving a black truck and believed to be part of the work crew, had followed the suspect and pursued him through an intersection where his truck collided with another car driven by Mary Beeler, 23, striking the vehicle in the driver’s-side door.

During the chase, Edwards communicated with a KCSD deputy who told Edwards not to chase the suspect, Dooley said.

Knoxville Police Department was dispatched to the wreck scene since it has jurisdiction over the city intersection.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Beeler was injured in the accident and transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she was pronounced in critical condition. Her status was later upgraded to serious condition later Friday evening.

UTMC personnel said Monday morning that Beeler had improved to stable condition.

DeBusk said, “Presently, charges had not been levied against Edwards. The accident is still under investigation. … we’ll either prefer charges or it will be presented to the district attorney’s office for them to decide. I believe that the case will end up at the district attorney’s office.”

Subsequently, the car theft suspect had continued down Lovell Road onto Kingston Pike where he pulled into Advantage Auto Parts and bailed out of the car.

The KCSD Aviation and K-9 Units searched for about an hour-and-a-half until an off-duty Knox County Deputy saw the suspect on Canton Hollow Road and took him into custody, Dooley said.

“Watts admitted to our officers that he stole the car,” Dooley said. “He’s been charged with felony theft, driving while on a revoked license, evading arrest, and reckless driving. His bond is at $36,000 dollars.”

Other charges may be pending from the Oak Ridge Police Department and KPD relating to the wreck.

Dooley said, “At no time was there a pursuit” from KCSD officers.


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