THP: Armed robbery suspect arrested after pursuit from Hamblen Co. to Sullivan Co.

Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers chased an armed robbery suspect from the mile marker 37 of I-81 North into Kingsport.
Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 1:18 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2021 at 7:47 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers arrested an armed robbery suspect, Francis Zegilla Jr., after a pursuit from Hamblen County to Sullivan County on Thursday, according to a THP release.

On Oct. 14 at 10:42 a.m., troopers were advised of a BOLO (be on the lookout) for a black Lexus 330 that was last seen traveling north on I-81 from Fish Hatchery Road that had been involved in an armed robbery that recently occurred in Hamblen County.

At 10:55 a.m., a black Lexus matching the description of the BOLO was spotted by troopers traveling north on I-81 at mile marker 37, however, contact was lost with the vehicle, officials said.

Another trooper spotted the Lexus coming out of a rest area and attempted to stop it, but the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed. Troopers said they then pursued the vehicle on I-81 North.

The vehicle exited on exit 50, then continued into Sullivan County on Highway 93 where troopers attempted to deploy spike strips, the release said. However, the vehicle swerved to miss the spike strips.

The pursuit then continued into Lincoln Street in Kingsport. The vehicle eventually slowed down and the driver exited while it was still moving and took off on foot.

After an on-foot chase, THP troopers placed Zegilla into custody.

Officials said he was charged with felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and fugitive from justice in another state.

Zegilla also had warrants for his arrest in Georgia and South Carolina, according to the release.

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