Roan Mountain man arrested following police pursuit

Published 8:19 am Friday, August 4, 2017

A Roan Mountain man faces multiple charges after police say he led officers on a pursuit with a small child in his vehicle.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Derrick Birchfield, 33, of 175 Elm Hollow Road, Roan Mountain on Wednesday night and charged him with felony evading arrest while operating a motor vehicle, attempted child neglect, simple possession of Schedule II drugs (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, violation of the child restraint law, violation of the light law, and violation of financial responsibility. Officers also served him with a Juvenile Court Attachment charging him with failure to appear.

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CCSO Deputy Nick Andes was leaving a home in Roan Mountain when he saw a small black pickup truck on Old Highway 143 with no operating tail lights. Andes said he turned on his lights and sirens to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver failed to pull over. He said the vehicle continued up Hampton Creek toward Dark Hollow.

“I observed the vehicle on the wrong side of the road several times and believed the driver may be driving under the influence,” Andes said. “I also observed that there was no traffic on the road and the speeds topped at approximately 55 to 60 mph.”

The truck then turned onto Elm Hollow Road and continued through the dead end, driving into a field. Andes said he pursued the vehicle through the field and out onto a dirt road where the truck finally stopped at 175 Elm Hollow Road. The driver, who was later identified as Birchfield, exited the truck and began running toward a wooded area.

Andes said he gave Birchfield two warnings that if he did not stop Andes would deploy his K9 partner Hugo. After Andes released Hugo, he said Birchfield stopped and began walking back toward him, so he recalled Hugo.

As Birchfield approached, Andes said he refused to take his hands out of his pockets. Hugo was then used to apprehend Birchfield and Andes placed him in handcuffs.

“Once I was able to escort Mr. Birchfield back to my patrol vehicle I noticed a female removing a toddler from the front seat of the truck I had just been pursuing,” Andes said. “When I asked the female what she was doing she stated that she was getting the child out of the truck.” The child was identified as Birchfield’s 3-year-old son.

Andes said he asked Birchfield what he had been doing just before walking back toward him and Birchfield told the officer he was getting rid of some methamphetamine he had in his pocket. Andes then searched the area where Birchfield had been and located a plastic baggie containing methamphetamine and a glass meth pipe.