Putnam County couple killed in shootout with Texas officers following big rig chase

PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Putnam County couple was killed in Texas after a dramatic big rig chase and shootout with Texas law enforcement officers.

According to Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris, drug agents had been investigating Edward and Elizabeth Stevenson for some time.

The sheriff said after making several undercover buys from the Cookeville married couple, Putnam drug agents raided their home on Thursday, May 9.

When Agents entered the Stevenson home, the couple was not there. But drug agents found close to 3/4 of a pound of meth. Officers also seized multiple rifles, semi-automatic long guns, and pistols, as well as bulletproof vests.

“It appears, what we found in the residence, they were certainly anticipating a violent encounter,” Sheriff Farris said.

Farris told News 2 information developed at the home indicated that the couple was in Mexico, allegedly making a drug deal with a cartel.

More intel was developed by Friday and Donely County Sheriff’s deputies and the Texas Department of Safety intercepted the Stevenson’s 18-wheeler near Amarillo.

Farris said the Stevensons own and operate a trucking company and the big rig belonged to them.

A motorist driving along the access road to Interstate 40 captured dramatic moments as sheriff’s deputies chased and even drove beside the big rig, firing shots at the tires, trying to stop the truck.

According to Farris, Edward Stevenson, 60, had reportedly rammed the big rig into several vehicles earlier in the day, refusing to stop for officers.

Drug agents believed the Stevensons went across the border and made a deal with drug cartel members for a large shipment of cocaine, and the couple was returning with that shipment to Middle Tennessee, according to Farris.

“We got a tip they were not going to stop for law enforcement and if they had to, they were going to do suicide by cop and certainly we relayed that message out to law enforcement out there,” Farris said.

According to Farris, in the end, both Elizabeth and Edward Stevenson fired at Texas officers,
who returned fire, killing the couple. A search of the cab of the truck turned up 64 pounds of cocaine with a street value of close to $3 million.

“You know these folks had done this for quite some time. They didn’t want to get caught by law enforcement, but more probably were afraid of the cartel than being caught, you know, 29 kilos, and their relationship with one of the Mexican cartels on a regular basis,” said Farris.

Farris blamed the open border policy with Mexico for many of the drug problems in Middle Tennessee and Cookeville. He said the illegal drug trade is directly or indirectly responsible for most of the violent crimes in his county.

Farris currently has one of his drug agents working with Texas authorities to finalize the investigation into the Stevensons.

According to Farris, both of the Stevensons are convicted felons. Elizabeth Stevenson, 51, has a record with the DOC for drugs.