Couple charged in weekend meth labs arraigned in court
Published 8:34 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016
An Elizabethton couple facing multiple charges after police reported finding a meth lab in the car they were traveling in with their young child were arraigned in court on Monday and remain behind bars pending payment of high bonds.
On Friday, officers of the Elizabethton Police Department arrested Christopher Flippo, 29, and Myla Williams, 24, both of 604 1/2 Beech St., Elizabethton. Officers charged Flippo with aggravated child endangerment, aggravated assault, evading arrest, tampering with evidence, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine, 12 counts of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and one count of attempted promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. Officers charged Williams with aggravated child endangerment, initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and six counts of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture.
Both Flippo and Williams appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday morning for arraignment. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Flippo and attorney C.J. Roberts to represent Williams.
Bowers also greatly reduced the bonds which had been set on the couple over the weekend by the judicial commissioner. Williams bond had originally been set at $124,000 and Bowers lowered it to a $50,000 corporate bond, which means anyone attempting to post bail for Williams will have to do so through a professional bonding company. Bowers reduced Flippo’s bond by more than $100,000, dropping it down to a $65,000 corporate bond.
Both Flippo and Bowers are scheduled to return to General Sessions Court on April 26.
The charges into the Elizabethton couple stem from an investigation that began with a routine traffic stop regarding a seat belt violation on Friday morning.
EPD Cpl. Doug Combs said he was on patrol around 10:20 a.m. when he saw a black Mitsubishi Eclipse traveling on Stateline Road and noticed the driver was not wearing her seatbelt. Combs stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of CVS on Highway 19E and identified the driver as Williams.
A check of Williams’ driver’s license revealed her license was revoked. Combs asked the passenger, later identified as Flippo if he had a valid license and Flippo said that he did not. A warrant check revealed Flippo was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Rhea County.
Combs said Flippo exited the car and began running toward Stateline Road while carrying a plastic bag and a plastic bottle. As officers pursued Flippo on foot, Combs said Flippo discarded the plastic bag on the Tweetsie Trail and later poured out the contents of the plastic bottle and then dropped the bottle.
Officers were able to apprehend Flippo and take him into custody.
“While walking back to the scene of the traffic stop, Patrol Officer (Matthew) Taylor retrieved the plastic bag that Mr. Flippo had discarded,” Combs said, adding Taylor opened the bag to check its contents and the officers saw items commonly used to produce meth. “I immediately detected a strong chemical odor begin to emit from the bag once it was opened.”
“Ptl. Taylor began to cough and gasp for air,” Combs added. “Ptl. Taylor went down to his knees and had obvious difficulty breathing.”
The Carter County Rescue Squad responded to the scene and transported Taylor to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment for possible chemical contamination.
Undercover officers with the EPD Vice Unit responded to the scene of the traffic stop and, using protective breathing equipment, searched the bag and the suspect vehicle. According to the undercover officers, evidence was recovered that indicated the presence of a meth lab in the vehicle.
Officers noted that Flippo and Williams had their 1-year-old daughter in the vehicle with them at the time of the traffic stop.
Evidence recovered from the traffic stop led officers to the couple’s home on Beech Street where a second meth lab was discovered inside another vehicle.