UPDATE: Suspect in high speed chase from August finally caught
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: A suspect wanted in a high speed chase has finally been caught. Terry Mitchell Vandergriff was wanted by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office after a high speed chase through Chattanooga into the Red Bank area in August.
Mitchell was located and arrested in Rhea County. He was brought back to Hamilton County and is being housed at the Hamilton County Jail on a $43,000 bond. He is scheduled for court September 30, 2015.
UPDATE: "You could see the lights all back in there. The whole woods were lit up in blue and red," William Smith, Jr. described the police chase through his Soddy-Daisy neighborhood on Sunday night.
A high-speed pursuit through Hamilton County ended in the woods behind his home.
"End to end, it was nothing but cops," he said.
The chase started around 8:30 p.m. during a traffic stop made on Highway 27 S. A Hamilton County deputy stopped Terry Vandergriff, who was driving a black SUV on a revoked license.
The 39-year-old took off, leading deputies on a 100 m.p.h. chase to the Mountain Creek Road exit. Red Bank police joined in after Vandergriff took Browntown Road into the city. Spike strips were deployed, but they missed.
Vandergriff kept driving north, eventually reaching Lovell Road, before going off-road into some rough terrain.
"I couldn't believe they ran back in there with their cars across those jumps and everything, but they did. They let it ride," said Smith, Jr.
Smith's entire family lives in different homes along that stretch of Lovell Road. They saw the suspect ditch the SUV on a trail behind William Smith Sr.'s property.
"He'd be gone. You couldn't find him down in those woods," explained Smith, Sr.
Vandergriff ran off, leaving his passenger, Rebecca Ward, who was previously wanted on drug charges, in the vehicle.
"There were cops everywhere. Everybody was out in the yard looking and wondering what was going on," according to Smith, Sr. who said police told him to go back inside his home while they searched the area with a K-9.
"They said to go in and lock the doors and stuff, because there ain't no telling where he could be around here in these woods," he said.
But the search for Vandergriff turned up nothing. As of Monday afternoon, he was still on the run.
A search of Vandergriff's criminal history shows he pleaded guilty to manufacturing meth last year.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact HCSO at (423) 622-0022.
PREVIOUS STORY: Hamilton County deputies are looking for the suspect involved in a high-speed chase Sunday night.
Around 8:40pm Sunday, HCSO deputies made a traffic stop on a black SUV at the 1700 block of Highway 27 Southbound for driving with a revoked TN driver’s license.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Terry Vandergriff.
Deputies failed to get Vandergriff to stop and a vehicle pursuit ensued reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour.
Deputies continued to chase Vandergriff on Highway 27 where he got off at the Mountain Creek Road exit and continued to head to Browntown Road into Red Bank.
That's when Red Bank authorities joined in the pursuit and spike strips were deployed, but missed.
The vehicle continued north, coming to a stop in the woods at 9893 Lovell Road, where the suspect exited the vehicle and took off on foot.
A passenger in the vehicle, Rebecca Ward, was taken into custody for outstanding warrants.
Warrants were obtained for Vandergriff for felony evasion, driving on a revoked license, and drug paraphernalia.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for Terry Vandergriff. If you have any information as to his location, please notify the HCSO at 423-622-0022.