ONLY ON 3: Man steals Mayfield truck, admits to drinking 18 beers
A McMinn County man is in jail after police say he stole a Mayfield delivery truck and took it on a drunken ride with an employee still inside the trailer bed.
The brief police chase began with the tractor trailer swinging over the hood of a police car and ended with the truck jack-knifing.
Justin Coleman, 24, faces seven charges including DUI, felony theft and assault on an officer.
Police say Coleman stole the truck out of the Mayfield parking lot as Andy Hughes was stocking it with milk. Hughes was in the back of the trailer when the truck took off towards downtown Athens.
"It definitely was wild and it was weird,” Hughes said. "He was hitting bumps and curves and everything. I kept thinking who is driving this truck? And where am I going? And how can I get off this truck?"
The truck stopped at a red light, giving Hughes enough time to jump from the back of the truck to safety. Police say Coleman then hit a police cruiser that gave chase.
The truck continued to weave in and out of both lanes of traffic before the dollies caught on the pavement and forced the truck to jack knife.
Police say Coleman admitted to drinking at least an 18 pack but that it was “an everyday thing for him.” Coleman told police he did not steal the truck but officers say the evidence was overwhelming.
"The officer actually removed him from the cab of the truck so I believe that's a positive identification,” said Captain Rob Davis.
Police took Coleman to the McMinn County jail where they say he took a swing at the arresting officer’s face but missed and hit him in the chest. That’s when a corrections officer used a stun gun on the man.
Coleman was charged with DUI, driving on a suspended license, felony evading risk of death, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, theft over $60,000, leaving the scene of an accident and assault on an officer.
Coleman told police he would plead insanity to the charges, which is not even an option for a DUI charge.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Hughes said he wants to thank the Athens police for their quick response and Mayfield for letting him take off the rest of his overnight shift to spend time with his wife and children.