Suspect in Cocke Co. truck theft leads officers on road, foot chase

Published: Aug. 8, 2017 at 4:28 PM EDT
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On Tuesday, Cocke County deputies responded to a gas station for a reported theft of a 2003 red Ford F150 truck. Tommy Hale had reported he had just gone into the gas station to make a purchase, and when he returned his vehicle was missing.

The deputy on the scene identified the suspect as Ezekiel Thompson, 25, of Newport, Tennessee.

At around 10:55 a.m. Tuesday, the vehicle was spotted being driven by Thompson. A Cocke County deputy and an officer from the City of Newport pursued the vehicle into Jefferson County, reaching speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour.

The driver attempted to enter Old Newport Highway in Jefferson County and crashed into an open field. The driver fled the vehicle on foot, and two passengers were detained at the scene.

Officers pursued the suspect on foot towards Interstate 40 and lost sight of him. He was identified as a white male with a slim build, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt with an American flag on it.

The officers requested assistance from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Responding officials began an extensive search of an area that included residential, farmland and wooded areas. A THP helicopter also joined in the search.

Around 12:25 p.m., a Tennessee Wildlife Resource officer spoke to a couple of people who had seen the suspect in Jefferson County. A THP trooper spotted the suspect in his last known location and began a foot pursuit.

The suspect attempted to break into a locked residence and was confronted by officers. The suspect threatened officers and pretended to have a gun on his waist. The officers approached the suspect, and the suspect fought with them, resisting arrest.

The officers on the scene gained control of the suspect and placed him under arrest. The suspect was transported to the Cocke County Jail.

In Cocke County, the suspect will face charges of felony fleeing to evade arrest and theft over $2,500.

In Jefferson County, the suspect will face 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.