Friday, January 15, 2010
Undercover Op In Cemetery Leads To Apprehension Of Meth Lab Suspects
An undercover drug operation inside a Lawrence County cemetery Wednesday evening caused law enforcement officials to become involved in a three-county, high-speed chase during which a police car was rammed.
According to information released through the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Thursday morning, the operation took place late Wednesday inside Pleasant Garden Cemetery, on Pleasant Garden Road in Summertown.
Officials report receiving a tip regarding possible drug activity set to take place inside the cemetery that evening. A confidential source had indicated that four individuals were going to the cemetery that evening in order to pick up a mobile methamphetamine lab that had been stashed there.
The cemetery was placed under surveillance by agents with the department’s Crime Suppression Unit, and the suspects reportedly arrived on the scene around 9:00 p.m. inside a dark color Mercury Mountaineer. Agents report the driver pulled into the cemetery, stopped for approximately one minute, then pulled back onto Pleasant Garden Road, heading toward Buffalo Road.
When agents activated emergency lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop, they report the driver accelerated to around 60 miles per hour in the 45 mph zone. The driver turned north onto Buffalo Road. Agents then engaged sirens and began to pursue the vehicle. Although agents made attempts to block the fleeing vehicle, they report the driver was able to swerve around them and continue to flee.
The driver headed west on Turnpike. While pursuing the vehicle, agents report seeing the occupants tossing items from the windows. They continued to pursue the vehicle onto Napier Road. As they tossed items from the windows, one agent reports the items were striking the front of his patrol car. They appeared to be components needed to manufacture meth.
When agents made repeated attempts to pass the suspect vehicle, they indicate the driver responded by swerving toward their vehicles in an attempt to run them off the roadway.
Agents pursued the vehicle for several miles into Lewis County, turning onto Napier Lake Road. They then crossed into Wayne County, traveling along Highway 99, Allens Creek Road, and onto Buttermilk Ridge Road. Deputies note that the driver traveled throughout the chase at speeds of between 60 and 70 miles per hour, placing other motorists in jeopardy.
In the meantime additional local officers joined the operation, along with agents from Wayne County and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. They were able to deploy spike strips at the Buttermilk Ridge Road/U.S. Highway 64 intersection which ultimately disabled the vehicle.
When the suspect vehicle ran over the spike strips, deputies report the driver accelerated to around 90 miles per hour. The driver turned into a drive at 9110 Buttermilk Ridge Road where he ran through the yard and lost control of the vehicle. He then rammed a police car blocking his path before coming to a stop.
Deputies report that the three occupants refused to comply when ordered to exit the vehicle repeatedly. They were then extracted from the vehicle and placed under arrest. They indicate that a fourth suspect had exited the vehicle when it turned into the drive, and had fled on foot.
Steven Allan Holmes, 25, of 105 Hickory Street, Saint Joseph, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, failure to yield, evading arrest, resisting arrest, initiation of a process to manufacture meth, promotion of meth manufacturing, and littering.
Mindy Elisha Rosson, 26, of 127 Guard Drive, Lawrenceburg, and Ashley Nicole Graves, 21, of 51 C.C. Road, Summertown, were each charged with the crimes of initiation of the process to manufacture meth, promotion of meth manufacturing and littering.
After her apprehension Rosson complained to officers that when the male who had fled had tossed items out the window, chemicals had been blown onto her neck and head causing her skin to burn. The local Hazardous Materials Team was summoned to the scene and Rosson was decontaminated before being transported to the jail for booking.
Specially trained officer were summoned to assist in recovering the items that had been tossed from the vehicle. During the search, deputies report recovering numerous items used in the meth manufacturing process. The Meth Cleanup Team then responded to the scene to conduct a cleanup operation.
Holmes, Rosson and Graves have been incarcerated through the Lawrence County Jail. All three are scheduled for an initial appearance in Lawrence County General Sessions Court on March 3, 2010.