County man, woman face child endangerment charges after traffic stop

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Carter County man and woman face child endangerment charges following a traffic stop on Monday night.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested James Walter Lingerfelt, 43, and Chelcey Amelia Breann Rainbolt, 27, both of 1298 Bluefield Ave., Elizabethton, on Monday. Deputies charged Lingerfelt with driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, violation of the implied consent law, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of child abuse/neglect/endangerment. Deputies charged Rainbolt with possession of Schedule II drugs (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of child abuse/neglect/endangerment.

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According to court documents, CCSO Deputy Johnathan Simerly was patrolling in the Hampton area when he saw a red Honda displaying a magnetized dealer tag. Simerly said when he got behind the vehicle the driver began driving “in a suspicious manner” and turned into the parking lot of a convenience store while he was checking the tag number displayed on the car. A female exited the passenger side of the car and walked into the store, Simerly said.

At that time, Simerly said, 911 dispatchers informed him the magnetized dealer tag on the car had been reported stolen out of Unicoi County. Simerly then walked to the vehicle and spoke with the driver, whom he identified as Lingerfelt.

“I asked Mr. Lingerfelt about the tag, and he stated that he had taken it from his brother’s car in Erwin but did not tell his brother about it,” Simerly said, adding a check of Lingerfelt’s driver’s license showed the man’s license had been suspended. “During this time I noticed that Mr. Lingerfelt was very jittery and appeared to possibly be under the influence of some type of drug.”

Simerly said Lingerfelt performed poorly on field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest.

During this time, according to Simerly, the female returned to the car and was identified as Rainbolt. Simerly said Rainbolt’s driver’s license is also suspended and she could not drive the car away from the store, so she called for someone to pick her and the two children in the vehicle up.

Simerly said deputies then began conducting an inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed away from the store. According to Simerly, the officers found several items of drug paraphernalia along with a small plastic baggie containing a crystalized substance which appeared to be methamphetamine. The deputy said the suspected meth was found inside a wallet which also contained Rainbolt’s identification card.

Deputies then placed Rainbolt under arrest as well. A member of Rainbolt’s family came to the scene and took custody of the two children.