SMITHVILLE, Tenn. – Authorities have captured a suspect who led police on a vehicle chase across three counties.
Authorities in DeKalb County said they arrested 35-year-old Howard Eugene Brown at his home in Smithville on Wednesday night. They had gone to the home to serve a probation violation warrant on him after developing him as a suspect in their investigation.
Authorities believe he went home on foot after crashing and bailing out of the truck he was driving on Bright Hill Road during the chase.
The chase began just outside Spencer in Van Buren County. A deputy with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office attempted to stop a pick-up around 12:44 p.m. Wednesday for a traffic violation.
After his arrest, Brown told investigators he had just finished shooting up drugs when the officer stopped to check on him.
The pickup led deputies down Highway 111 through White County, then took Highway 70 toward Smithville.
Deputies with the White County and DeKalb County Sheriff's Offices got involved in the chase.
Officials said troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol did not assist in the chase, but did deploy spike strips in an attempt to stop the chase.
Van Buren County Sheriff Grayson Beasley said a THP trooper was at his home in Smithville, listening to the chase on his scanner. After realizing the suspect was headed toward his home on Bright Hill Road, the trooper went to the end of his driveway and deployed the spike strips.
The suspect continued on to Evins Mill Road where he crashed and fled on foot. K-9 units from several agencies, including THP and Putnam County, were called out to search for the man.
Initially, Van Buren County authorities thought the driver was another man, Ray Underwood. However, the DeKalb County Sheriff said he had doubts about that after viewing the video tape from the Van Buren County Sheriff's vehicle. He said the man's build did not fit Underwood's profile.
After starting their own investigation, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department developed Brown as a suspect. When they got to his home, they noticed his vehicle was not there. He also had scratches on his body. His wife told authorities that Brown said he had been to Dunlap that day and had not driven home in the truck. She also said Brown told her he had encountered a police pursuit, and had to leave the truck behind after being forced off the road.
Brown was booked into the DeKalb County jail. Van Buren authorities plan to charge him with driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest.
Brown is currently on probation for criminal impersonation, theft, aggravated
The truck Brown was driving was said to be registered to a man in Davidson County. Authorities will work with Metro Nashville Police to help track down the owner.
Smithville Elementary School was put on lockdown around 1:15 p.m. as officers searched the area. The school remained on lockdown for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.