Drunk driver leads car chase

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By Jennifer Caldwell

An alleged drunk driver made downtown streets unsafe for travel late last Wednesday night.

LaFollette Police Officer William Owens observed a vehicle driven by Joseph Cleveland Stinson, 51, of 134 Pleasant Lane, swerve onto the right shoulder near the intersection of North Tennessee Avenue and 13th Street, the arrest report said. 

After noting this behavior several more times, Owens activated his emergency lights to attempt a traffic stop.

Stinson initially appeared to be pulling of the road, but then accelerated back onto the roadway, LPD records indicate.

With Owens in pursuit, Stinson allegedly continued driving repeatedly “on the wrong side of the road with complete disregard for public safety.” Despite the lights and sirens Stinson continued to lead Owens on a chase that lasted approximately five and a half miles before stopping on Demory Road, according to Owens’ report.

After bringing his vehicle to a halt, Stinson allegedly refused to exit the car and had to be physically removed.

Owens’ reported Stinson smelled “strongly of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.”

Stinson was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. 

He is scheduled to appear in court on April 17.