UPDATE: Rhea Co. burglary suspect in custody following lengthy pursuit
UPDATE: A burglary suspect is in custody in Rhea County following a pursuit that crossed county lines.
Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal said deputies were called to a burglary at a home on Bob Long Road around noon Saturday.
The suspect, identified as Kendall O'Neil Speegle, burglarized the home and stole a Chevrolet pickup truck, and the homeowners were on their back porch at the time, the sheriff explained.
Sheriff Neal said Speegle drove the truck through the closed garage and took off.
Deputies pursued him as he drove into Meigs County and North Hamilton County on Highway 60.
Speegle eventually made it to the 2100 block of Blythe Ferry Lane.
Sheriff Neal said a homeowner saw Speegle flee on foot into the woods.
"The homeowners saw what they thought was a long rifle being carried b the suspect," the sheriff's office explained.
Officers tried to set up a perimeter at the location while they waited on K-9 tracking teams to arrive from Hamilton and Rhea Counties.
The sheriff's office said Speegle then went to the 300 block of Rogers Road where he kicked in a door at a home and tried to steal a vehicle. He was unsuccessful, but he was able to steal a blue Jeep.
Speegle traveled to the 100 block of Kimbrough Lane where he abandoned the Jeep in the road.
He went to a home on Kimbrough Lane and stole a blue truck, the sheriff's office said.
While driving the truck, he lost control and crashed on Elder Hollow Road.
After crashing, he fled on foot and went to a home in the 1100 block of Sneed Road where he tried to steal an ATV at gunpoint from the homeowner.
He continued traveling and stole a Chevrolet Cruze in the 1000 block of Sneed Road.
Speegle then led deputies on a pursuit north on Highway 58.
While evading deputies, he sideswiped a Ford Ranger pickup truck, the sheriff's office said.
Speegle continued to flee and drove the Chevrolet Cruze into the Tennessee River at Eaves Ferry in Meigs County, Sheriff Neal explained.
Sheriff Neal said Speegle swam across the river to Rhea County. He came out of the river at the Yuchi Wildlife Management area and was taken into custody following a short search.
Speegle was taken to the Rhea County Jail.
He faces multiple charges, including:
- Aggravated burglary (multiple counts)
- Theft over $10,000
- Felony Evading Arrest
- Felony Reckless Endangerment
A Hamilton County dive team and members of the Rhea County Marine Patrol are working to find and remove the vehicle from the water.
No officers were injured during the pursuit, according to Meigs County Sheriff Jackie Melton.
Sheriff Melton added that Speegle will face charges in Meigs County as well.
Deputies from Meigs, Rhea and Hamilton Counties were all involved in the pursuit. The Tennessee Highway Patrol also assisted.
Channel 3 will keep you updated as we learn more.