Suspected overdose death leads to arrest

News, Press Release
overdose death
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced the death of a 22-year-old man from an apparent overdose and the subsequent arrest of a woman that stemmed from a search warrant following the young man’s death early this morning.
The male victim, age 22, was pronounced dead on the scene by AMR medics. He was taken to the Knox County Regional Forensics Center where an autopsy will be conducted this week.
Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force arrested Sara Elizabeth Chandra, 35, of Maryville, and charged her with possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale. She is being held on a $2,500 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. July 28. In addition, warrants are on file for Carlos Perez, 25, who also resides at the apartment on Tallent Way, for possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale and maintain a dwelling where drugs are used or sold.
Deputies responded to an apartment on Tallent Way at around 2:30 a.m. this morning to the report of a possible drug overdose. When deputies arrived, they found the male victim unresponsive in the bathroom. Deputies began CPR on the man and administered two doses of Narcan in an attempt to revive him, but they were unsuccessful in their efforts. AMR Ambulance Service arrived and confirmed that the victim was deceased. Deputies spoke with Sara Chandra. She told deputies that the victim arrived at the apartment Sunday evening and they used cocaine and alcohol together before he became unresponsive. Deputies observed numerous drugs in plain view in the apartment.
Deputies contacted the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, and a short time later narcotics investigators conducted a search warrant on the residence. In total, investigators seized 3 grams of methamphetamine, 1.1 gram of cocaine, 0.5 grams of heroin, 10 grams of Psilocybin (magic) mushrooms, 1.236 pounds of marijuana/THC wax, numerous prescription narcotics, three firearms, and approximately $3,200 cash.
Deputies contacted the Department of Children’s Services regarding a two-year-old boy who was in the apartment during the incident.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending.
From January 1 through July 18, 2021, local law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office and Maryville and Alcoa Police Departments, have responded to 213 overdoses and 35 overdose deaths.
The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force is comprised of deputies and officers with Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, and Alcoa Police Department.

Alleged scammer charged for exploiting elderly woman

News, Press Release
scammer
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced investigators placed warrants on file for a 30-year-old New York man after he swindled a Maryville woman out of $15,000 in a “grandparent” scam.
Blount County Sheriff’s investigators placed warrants on file for Jaquan Jarrod Wright, 30, of Brooklyn, New York for felony theft as well as financial exploitation of elderly or vulnerable. Wright and two females were also charged by Loudon County Sheriff’s investigators with similar crimes. The trio remains in custody in the Loudon County Jail.
Blount County placed a hold on Wright, and he will return to the Blount County Correctional Facility to face his charges here as soon as his case is adjudicated in Loudon County.
The Sheriff’s Office is working jointly with Loudon County Sheriff’s Office on the scheme in which criminals call elderly people claiming to be a family member in trouble needing bail money, and/or a phony attorney or law enforcement official claiming the victim needs to go to the bank and withdraw cash to pay a bond for a grandchild.
The BCSO received numerous complaints last week of this scheme, and a Maryville woman fell victim to the criminal, handing over $15,000 to a phony bail bondsman, identified as Wright, who showed up at her house to pick up the cash. In addition, a victim in Loudon County also lost thousands of dollars to Wright with the same scheme.
Investigators with Loudon County and Blount County Sheriff’s Offices took Wright and two females into custody Thursday evening in Loudon County. Other area jurisdictions reported the same activity in their respective counties last week.
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate, and investigators are asking individuals who may have fallen victim to these criminals to come forward and file a report.
“Our strong working relationship with Loudon County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies proved to be invaluable in this case,” Sheriff Berrong said. “This arrest may not have been possible without the collective resources and investigative knowledge we share as a team.”
As a reminder, if you receive this type of phone call, hang up and call 911. These criminals are very convincing and are relentless in their quest to steal your money.

Blount sheriff office holding a defense course for women in August

Community, News
defense course
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the Sheriff’s Office is now enrolling women in a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class to be held beginning August 4.
The class is scheduled for August 4, 5, and 6 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Blount County Justice Center, located at 940 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville. The 12-hour class is open to ladies age 13 and up. No prior training is required. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Class size is limited. There is no cost for the class.
RAD instructors will also teach special sessions to groups of women 10 or more upon request, as well as advanced classes for ladies who have gone through the basic class.
The class is designed to develop options of resistance through the RAD program, and is taught by certified instructors through the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. The dynamic, hands-on program was designed for the average woman, and basic self-defense techniques are taught in an enjoyable format.
***Face coverings for this session are optional.
For additional information, or to enroll for the class, please contact Deputy Magahn Mattocks at (865)223-4301.

Greenback woman charged with 7 counts of reckless endangerment

News, Press Release
reckless endangerment
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said a Greenback woman was arrested and charged with seven counts of felony reckless endangerment after she drove through a vaccine tent at a high rate of speed Monday, placing the lives of seven workers in danger.
Virginia Christine Lewis Brown, 35, Rudd Road, Greenback, was released on bonds totaling $21,000 on her charges pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. June 7, 2021.
The incident occurred Monday morning at the Blount County Health Department vaccine site at Foothills Mall. Two Blount County Sheriff’s deputies who were working at the site witnessed Ms. Brown speed through the coned section and through the enclosed vaccine tent in a Chrysler Pacifica. The deputies reported that Ms. Brown did not stop at the check-in area at the entrance of the tent but continued through the tent at a high rate of speed, then exited the tent and out of the parking lot. Several personnel, who represent the Blount County Health Department and the Tennessee National Guard, ran out of the tent and toward the deputy’s vehicles.
Witnesses and staff told the deputies Ms. Brown yelled “No vaccine!” as she drove through the tent. One of the deputies followed the vehicle out of the parking lot and conducted a traffic stop on Morganton Road. Ms. Brown told the deputy that she drove through the site to protest the vaccine. Ms. Brown was arrested and taken to the Blount County Correctional Facility without incident.

Blount County Sheriff’s Office promotes “slow down Tennessee”

Community, News
slow down tennessee
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to promote “Slow Down Tennessee.” During April 16 – 30, the Sheriff’s Office will increase education, awareness, and enforcement efforts to help reduce speeding-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities statewide.
Between May 1, 2020 and April 15, 2021, Sheriff’s deputies worked close to 900 crashes, 239 of which involved injury or death, and 171 of those crashes involved speeding and/or negligent driving as known contributing factors.
“Since the implementation of our dedicated Traffic Safety Unit in the early 2000s, and particularly since 2016, we have witnessed a steady decline in injury and fatal crashes worked by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Berrong said. “These deputies work hard to ensure the safety of the citizens who travel our roadways, and we are hopeful that this trend will continue in the future. However, statistics don’t always provide a complete picture, and they don’t address the lives lost or changed due to a car accident that involves speeding or reckless driving. One life lost, or one person injured due to speeding or reckless driving is still too many.”
Sheriff Berrong assures citizens that with the return of warmer temperatures, and as more citizens and tourists begin traveling through Blount County, deputies will be out in force in an effort to slow down speeders, especially in areas of the county that are known as dangerous roadways. Between April and November, there is a considerable increase in traffic on the section of U.S. Highway 129 known as the “Dragon”, an 11.2 mile stretch of highway with 318 dangers curves. This stretch of roadway is appealing to motorcyclists and car club enthusiasts. With the help of a grant provided by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, in conjunction with NHTSA, the Sheriff’s Office deploys additional deputies to the “Dragon” during these months to keep citizens safe.
The State of Tennessee requires motorists to always exercise due care and maintain a safe speed while driving. Speed limits may vary depending on the county and road conditions; therefore, drivers must always pay attention and adhere to posted speed limits to ensure the safety of all roadway users.
For more information about speeding, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org/slow.

Tennessee Hands Free Law is still in effect

Community, Press Release
hands free tennessee
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong would like to remind citizens that the Tennessee Hands Free law IS the law, and sheriff’s deputies are doing their part to assure citizens stay safe while traveling Blount County’s roadways.
“The Tennessee Hands Free law went into effect in July 2019,” Sheriff Berrong said. “During the first few months the law was in effect, deputies saw a decrease in the number of people texting and driving, but over the past couple years some drivers seem to have forgotten that it is against the law to hold your cell phone while driving. We are seeing a notable increase in the number of drivers not obeying this law.”
As a reminder, below are the specifics of Public Chapter No. 412, Tennessee Hands Free Law. It makes it illegal for a driver to:
(a) Hold a cell phone or mobile device with any part of the body,
(b) Write, send, or read any text-based communication,
(c) Reach for a cell phone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated position or properly restrained by a seatbelt,
(d) Watch a video or movie on a cell phone or mobile device, and,
(e) Record or broadcast a video on a cell phone or mobile device.
A violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor, with fines as follows:
• $50 first time
• $100 third time offense or higher, or where the violation results in a crash
• $200 if the violation occurs in a work zone while workers are present, or if the violation occurs in a marked school zone while flashers are in operation
Hands-free devices are allowed, including earpieces, headphone devices, or a device worn on the wrist to conduct a voice-based communication. Dashboard mounts are also allowed.
“Distracted driving is a problem in Blount County and Tennessee,” Sheriff Berrong said. “In 2019 there were more than 23,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Tennessee. Our ultimate goal is not to penalize drivers who do not obey this law, but rather to prevent crashes and save lives.”

Sheriff office promotes three deputies

Community, News, Press Release
officer promotion
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff is proud to announce the advancements of three deserving deputies.
Congratulations to the following deputies:
• Captain Lee Slagle, formerly a lieutenant in Juvenile Corrections, replaces Captain John Adams who retired in February. Lt. Slagle’s promotion takes effect immediately. Capt. Slagle began his career at the Sheriff’s Office in 1995 in adult corrections. In 1999 he graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in Donelson. During his career, he advanced through the ranks, receiving a promotion to lieutenant in 2014. In 2018, he transferred to Juvenile Corrections.

Lt. Sam Hall, Juvenile Corrections

• Lieutenant Sam Hall, formerly a sergeant on patrol, is taking over as the lieutenant in Juvenile Corrections. Lt. Hall will transfer to Juvenile Corrections in April. Lt. Hall joined the BCSO in 2006 and graduated from the East Tennessee Regional Law Enforcement Academy at Walters State Community college.
• Corporal Mike Fox is promoted to corporal in Juvenile Corrections. Cpl. Fox advanced to an unfilled supervisor’s role in Juvenile Corrections. His new duties begin immediately. Cpl. Fox began his career at the Sheriff’s Office in 2011 in Juvenile Corrections and attended the Tennessee Correction Academy in Tullahoma.
All three deputies are seasoned law enforcement veterans and stellar employees. Please join us in congratulating Capt. Slagle, Lt. Hall, and Cpl. Fox on their promotions!
Cpl. Mike Fox, Juvenile Corrections.

Cpl. Mike Fox, Juvenile Corrections

Blount County Justice Center closed to public until January

News, Press Release
Blount County Justice Center
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced the Blount County Justice Center will close to in-person business beginning Friday, December 18 and with plans to re-open to the public beginning Monday, January 4. This is due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases across the county. The closure will NOT affect Patrol or Corrections operations.
“Once again, we had to make a very tough decision to close to in-person business in order to protect our employees and the citizens,” Sheriff Berrong said. “With the vaccine rolling out over the next couple of weeks, we are hoping we will see a drop in cases over the next few weeks, and we can resume normal operations January 4. In the meantime, Sheriff’s Office employees will continue to report to work and serve the public.”
During this time, citizens will be able to access the different Sheriff’s operations by way of phone Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Citizens can reach the following operations at the phone numbers listed below:
• Call 911 for emergencies
• To speak with a deputy, call (865)983-3620
• Records Office (865)273-5003
• For incident reports, accident reports, background checks, or other records-related transactions, email [email protected]
• Criminal Investigations (865)273-5001
• Court Services (865)273-5002
• Adult Corrections (865)273-5245
• Narcotics (865)977-SANO
• Video visitation from the 24-hour jail lobby will continue to be limited to three stations, and we will be enforcing the 10 person limit for gatherings. Onsite video visitation is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. We strongly encourage citizens to access video visitation from home.
The Justice Center is already scheduled for holiday closures on December 23, 24, and 25 for Christmas, and December 31 and January 1 for New Year’s.
Blount County General Sessions Court will hold in-custody criminal dockets on Monday, December 21 and Wednesday, December 30. All other courts are rescheduled.
The BCSO and the Blount County Justice Center are continuing to follow CDC guidelines regarding routine environmental cleaning, but during the closure, the maintenance staff will deep clean throughout the building.
“Closing the Justice Center to in-person business was a last resort option, but we felt it was necessary to protect everyone’s health, Sheriff Berrong said. “We are praying that we will see an overall improvement in COVID cases over the next few weeks. Until then, our deputies will continue serving our citizens to the best of our abilities. We hope everyone can stay healthy during the holidays so they can spend time with their families during the Christmas season.”

Sheriff’s office names 2020 employee of the year

News, Press Release
employee of the year
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Sheriff James Lee Berrong is proud to announce the Sheriff’s Office 2020 Employee of the Year was awarded to Deputy Joseph Maus. Sheriff Berrong presented Deputy Maus with the honor in front of a small gathering at the Sheriff’s Office this morning.
Deputy Maus was selected because he continually goes above and beyond what is expected of him. Earlier this year, Sheriff Berrong appointed Deputy Maus as the agency’s COVID-19 coordinator, which includes the responsibilities of assuring a continuous flow of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Sheriff’s Office front-line deputies, as well as keeping up with the health and welfare of deputies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Deputy Maus is also the Sheriff’s Office EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) coordinator and is responsible for assuring compliance with necessary training, equipment, and supplies that are required for the agency’s 33 EMR certified deputies. In addition, Deputy Maus assists with training employees on the agency’s records management system and assists with other I.T. issues.
Deputy Maus began his career with the Sheriff’s Office in 2016 as a patrol deputy. In addition to his full-time career at the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Maus is also a full-time law student. He is currently assigned to I.T. He is married to wife Hannah and they reside in Maryville.
Congratulations to Deputy Maus and to all of our 2020 Employees of the Month!!
January Deputy Matthew Duchane, Patrol
February Deputy Joey Maus, I.T.
March Deputy Rex Ogle, Patrol
April Deputy Khalil Whitehead
May No selection
June Cpl. Chris Carter, Patrol
July Deputy Richard Eggers, Patrol
August Deputy Larry Branham, Adult Corrections
September Investigator Doug Folmar, Investigations
October Deputy Kendyhl Rodgers, Patrol
Deputy Jared Pekala, Patrol
Deputy James Taylor, Patrol
November Deputy Brandon Bailes, Patrol
Deputy Alexander Hamilton, Patrol
December Investigator Joe Perry, Investigations
Deputy Magahn Mattocks, SRO
In addition to the recognition from the sheriff’s office, the Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy Alumni Association and Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union also offered a special thanks to each of the employees of the month and year.

Sheriff’s K-9 unit receive ballistic vest donation

Community, Press Release
ballistic vest ceremony

MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – The Blount County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit received the donation of a ballistic K-9 vest. Rhonda Harrill, a community volunteer, coordinated with Bulletproof-It Body Armor, LLC to donate one vest to the Sheriff’s K-9 team.

“We are humbled that Ms. Harrill chose the Sheriff’s Office as the recipient of the K-9 vest,” Sheriff James Lee Berrong said. “Our K-9s are just as vulnerable, if not more so, than our deputies in life threatening situations. Ballistic vests save the lives of our human and K-9 deputies. I want to thank Ms. Harrill and Bulletproof-It Body Armor for this donation. The vest donation as well as their support means a lot to all of us.”

Ms. Harrill also brought cupcakes and dog treats for our human and K-9 deputies. Over the years, Rhonda Harrill has also donated several AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) to the Sheriff’s Office. We are thankful for her friendship and backing!

District 20 Representative Bob Ramsey and Ms. Rhonda Harrill take a moment with the service dogs.

Sheriff’s office investigating human remains

News
human remains
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the Sheriff’s Office is investigating human remains that were found on private property late last week.
The remains were taken to Knox County Regional Forensic Center for analysis and positive identification. The remains, which appear to be of an adult male, were located on private property in the area of Mel Hall Road on September 3. Investigators and forensics experts believe the body has been buried for several years. The Sheriff’s Office took no missing person’s reports that coincide with the time period in which forensics experts believe the male was buried.
Experts with the Knox County Regional Forensic Center assisted investigators with the removal of the remains.
Investigators are asking for the public’s help with information that might lead to the identity of the male, and/or any other details that will determine what happened to him. If anyone has any information, please call Investigations during normal business hours at 865-273-5001. Individuals may also leave a message on the 24 hour anonymous Crime Hotline at 865-273-5200, or leave a tip on the Text-a-Tip link at www.bcso.com link Public Information.
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Deputies assist with Hurricane Laura relief

News
Hurricane Laura
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – On August 27, Hurricane Laura made a direct hit on Lake Charles, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, wreaking havoc and causing major destruction in Calcasieu Parish as well as other areas of South Louisiana. Two Blount County deputies answered the call to assist with the relief effort.
For one of our deputies, it was personal. Cpl. Darin Gallow was born and raised in Lake Charles and he still has several family members, including his mother, who call Lake Charles home. A fellow Blount County deputy, Jason Murphy, also heeded the call to help. On September 1, the two deputies loaded up a trailer with items donated by fellow deputies, churches, and private citizens and made the trip south, spending several days assisting the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office with the clean-up and relief efforts.
“It was heartbreaking to see my family and my hometown trying to go on with life in the midst of the devastation,” Cpl. Gallow said. “We didn’t want to leave without fixing everything, but we had to come home to Tennessee and our families and jobs.”
As of today, clean-up efforts continue, and will continue for quite a while. It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Laura made landfall, and most of the area is still without electricity and non-potable water.
Sheriff James Lee Berrong is asking citizens to keep the victims of Hurricane Laura in your thoughts and prayers as they try to move on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and other life’s challenges.
Images courtesy of Blount County Sheriff Office.

Deputies enter into high-speed chase with stolen vehicle

News
stolen vehicle
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said that at approximately 10 p.m. Thursday, a Sheriff’s deputy identified a white Toyota Camry traveling Washington Street near Jones Avenue. The same vehicle and registration was reported stolen out of Rhea County, Tennessee. The stolen vehicle continued traveling onto Sevierville Road, heading north out of town. The deputy initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop and continued to travel out of town at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner. The driver turned into Twin Oaks Estates and traveled to the dead end. The deputy again attempted to stop the vehicle using a pursuit intervention technique, but the driver escaped by cutting through a yard and drove back onto Sevierville Road, traveling in the opposite lane of travel at a high rate of speed. As the driver of the stolen vehicle approached the intersection of Sevierville Road and Nina Delozier Road, he lost control of the vehicle and struck a pick-up truck driven by a female, headed south toward Maryville.
The female victim, age 21, who was struck by the driver of the stolen vehicle was taken by AMR Ambulance Service to University of Tennessee Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the stolen vehicle, 20, and a male passenger, 15, died as a result of the crash. Another male passenger, 19, was taken by AMR Ambulance Service to University of Tennessee Medical Center where he is receiving treatment for his injuries.
Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.
Earlier this week, officers with Maryville Police Department attempted to stop the stolen Toyota Camry, but the driver eluded police.
The pursuant investigation following Thursday’s accident by the Sheriff’s Office revealed the 20-year-old driver had an extensive criminal history, including multiple extraditable warrants out of Missouri, and the 19-year old survivor has a criminal history that includes aggravated assault and second-degree murder from another jurisdiction.
The Sheriff’s Office investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Knoxville man victim of fatal car crash in Blount County

News, Press Release
car crash
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong is sad to announce a Knoxville man was killed in a fatal car crash in Blount County Tuesday evening.
Aaron M. Christopher, 18, of Martin Mill Pike, Knoxville, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. A passenger in the vehicle, Gabriel A. Sisson, 17, of Rhea Road, Knoxville, was flown by Life Star to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Sisson is listed in stable condition.
Deputies responded to the crash that occurred on Old Walland Highway near Melrose Station Road at 7:45 p.m. Aaron Christopher, the driver, was traveling northwest on Old Walland Highway in a 2002 Ford Explorer. As he crested a small hill that curved left, Aaron Christopher lost control of his vehicle. The vehicle left the roadway on the right side. Christopher overcorrected and the vehicle slid across the road, leaving the roadway on the left side. The vehicle struck a standing tree with the left side of the vehicle causing the vehicle to overturn and come to a rest on its top. Aaron Christopher was partially ejected, and the passenger, Gabriel Sisson was completely ejected from the vehicle through the windshield. Neither Aaron Christopher nor Gabriel Sisson were wearing seatbelts.
The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit is continuing its investigation into the car crash.
Sheriff Berrong would like to extend his condolences to the family of Aaron Christopher for the loss of their loved one and wishes for a speedy recovery to Gabriel Sisson.

Louisville man charged in connection to death of infant son

News, Press Release
Louisville
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said an 18-year-old Louisville man was charged Thursday in the death of his infant son.
Corey Ryan Dillow, 18, Red Hill Drive, Louisville, is in custody in the Blount County Correctional Facility. Dillow is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated child abuse. He is being held on bonds totaling $1,250,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. July 6, 2020.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to Dillow’s residence on Red Hill Drive in Louisville Wednesday where they found the infant unresponsive. Deputies attempted CPR on the infant before AMR Ambulance Service arrived and transported
him to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators are continuing their inquiry into the case. The image is courtesy of BCSO Facebook. 

Sheriff’s Office awards several commendations

Community, Press Release
commendations
MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong is proud to announce the Sheriff’s Office awarded three commendations to two deserving law enforcement officers and one heroic former law enforcement officer. The three commendations were awarded during a short ceremony at the Blount County Justice Center this morning.
Deputy Chief Jeff French awarded a Lifesaving Commendation to Blount County Sheriff’s Deputy Devan Teaster. On July 5, Deputy Teaster saved the life of Eric Spears following a car accident. Deputy Teaster saw that Spears’ arm was seriously injured. A few days prior, Deputy Teaster received TECC (Tactical Emergency Casualty Care) training and learned how to properly administer a tourniquet. Deputy Teaster saw that Mr. Spears’ arm was bleeding profusely and knew the bleeding had to be stopped. Deputy Teaster acted on his training and applied a tourniquet to Mr. Spears’ arms, stopping the bleeding. Though Mr. Spears’ ultimately lost his arm due to the severity of the injury, surgeons stated that Deputy Teasters’ quick and proper emergency care saved Mr. Spears’ life. Deputy Teaster has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 2015 is a School Resource Officer.

The family of Eric Spears, who was seriously injured in a car accident on July 5, were present this morning to thank Deputy Devan Teaster for saving the life of Eric Spears.

Sheriff Berrong also awarded a Law Enforcement Commendation and a Citizen Service Award to University of Tennessee Police Department Asst. Chief Sean Patterson and his wife Anaida Patterson, respectively. On June 28, the Patterson’s were visiting Blount County and traveling U.S. Highway 321 West near the Big Springs Road exit when they came upon a vehicle pulled to the side of the road and saw frantic activity within the vehicle. Asst. Chief Patterson and Anaida Patterson, who are both retired law enforcement officers from New York Police Department, knew something was wrong based on their training and experience. The Pattersons turned around and saw the baby’s mother outside the car holding an unconscious infant boy. The baby, Joseph, was choking on a piece of food.
The Pattersons immediately took control of the situation, and using their training and rendered first aid by delivering back blows which dislodged the food. Baby Joseph began breathing again, regained consciousness, and suffered no lasting effects from the incident.
Several co-workers, friends, and family members of the law enforcement officers and the grateful victims were in attendance at the ceremony.
The Sheriff’s Lifesaving Award is conferred upon a sworn or civilian employee who is directly responsible for saving a life.

Asst. Chief Patterson and his wife Anaida Patterson (pictured center) saved the life of Baby Joseph on June 28.

The Citizen Service Award may be conferred on any citizen who is not an employee of the Sheriff’s Office, and the act or achievement must be directly related to the overall law enforcement objectives of the Sheriff’s Office that may include extraordinary heroism or unselfish devotion to a fellow human being, or meritorious achievement in the performance of civic responsibility.
The Law Enforcement Commendation is awarded to a law enforcement officer from another agency who brings credit to themselves, their agency, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office for an exceptional act clearly resulting in the saving of a life, or performing an act of valor that aids someone who is clearly in need, and who goes above and beyond for an individual, while the law enforcement officer is on or off duty and within the jurisdiction of Blount County.
The sheriff’s office recently awarded several other officers for their life-saving efforts, read about it here.

Back to Top