Suspect with children in car allegedly attempted to hit police cars

Jeff Bobo • Jun 3, 2020 at 9:15 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Bulls Gap man is facing five felony charges after he allegedly led Rogersville police on a high speed chase Friday night and attempted to collide with police with two children ages 5 and 8 in the vehicle.

During the chase, Ronnie Justin Roberts, 33, reportedly lost control and slid into an apartment complex parking lot, where he aimed his vehicle at RPD officers Cambren Gibson and Josh Byrd.

The children weren’t injured despite a subsequent collision with a patrol car, which caused Roberts’ vehicle to “spin out safely.”

After the chase had ended, officers allegedly discovered the children in the car, as well as several glass meth pipes, a butane lighter, two cut straws, a marijuana pipe, numerous empty plastic baggies, and a plastic container holding 1.36 grams of marijuana.

Around 9 p.m. Friday, Byrd reportedly observed Roberts, who he knew to have a suspended driver’s license, driving a green Honda Accord northbound on Colonial Road.

Byrd stated in his report that the vehicle accelerated as it approached Main Street and turned onto East Main Street at a high rate of speed, ignoring a stop sign.

Roberts then reportedly turned onto Stamp Street and entered the cemetery there. When Byrd followed Roberts into the cemetery, Roberts allegedly accelerated in an attempt to elude the officer.

During the pursuit, Roberts reportedly returned to East Main Street, running a stop sign again, and then attempted to turn onto North Hawkins Street but lost control, and traveled through the East Court Apartments parking lot.

Roberts then allegedly drove towards Gibson’s patrol car, but Gibson quickly maneuvered his vehicle to avoid a collision. Roberts then allegedly attempted a head-on collision with Byrd’s patrol car.

Byrd stated in his report that Gibson positioned his car so that he could cause Roberts to “safely spin out of control” before a head-on collision took place.

Roberts then allegedly exited the driver’s side window and fled on foot toward North Hawkins street, leaving the two children in the Honda.

During the foot chase, Roberts received a five-second Taser deployment from Gibson and was taken into custody following a brief struggle.

Police said that Roberts is a family friend of the children’s father and that Roberts was supposed to be watching them. The children were picked up at the scene of Roberts’ arrest by their father.

Roberts was charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment for the children, two counts of aggravated assault for the officers, felony evading arrest, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a suspended license, no insurance and two stop sign violations.

He was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and ordered held without bond pending a preliminary hearing set for June 17.

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