3 face charges after fleeing from traffic stop

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Two men and one woman face multiple charges after police say the trio fled from officers during a traffic stop.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ciara Ward, 20, of 311 Third Avenue, Hampton, Cody Marsillett, 23, of 311 Third Avenue, Hampton, and Joshua Stout, 22, of 405 Poga Road, Butler, on Tuesday.

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Deputies charged Ward with second offense driving on a suspended license, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of registration, felony evading arrest, resisting arrest, and possession of a potentially vicious dog. Officers also served her with outstanding warrants charging her with driving on a suspended license and auto theft. Deputies charged Marsillett with two counts of resisting arrest. Deputies charged Stout with resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia and served him with an outstanding warrant out of Criminal Court charging him with failure to appear.

According to police reports and court documents, around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, CCSO Deputy Justin Covington conducted a traffic stop on a red Chevrolet Cavalier on Lover’s Lane after checking the tag displayed on the vehicle and learning that it belonged on another car. Covington said Ward was driving the car and Marsillett and Stout were passengers in the vehicle.

During the traffic stop, Covington learned Ward was wanted on an outstanding warrant charging her with driving on a suspended license and informed her she was under arrest.

“The passenger (Stout) began to act very nervous and kept asking to get out of the vehicle,” Covington said, adding he advised Stout to stay in the car.

At that time, Covington said he conducted a warrant check on Stout, and said after he informed Stout there was a warrant for his arrest Stout exited the car and fled toward Fitzsimmons Hill Road.

“I began a foot pursuit of Mr. Stout as Sgt. (David) Caldwell advised Ms. Ward and Mr. Marsillett to stay put,” Covington said. “Sgt. Caldwell got in his vehicle and got in front of Mr. Stout. Sgt. Caldwell placed Mr. Stout in custody while I went back to the vehicle with Ms. Ward and Mr. Marsillett.”

“As I was headed back to the vehicle, Ms. Ward and Mr. Marsillett took off towards Highway 911,” Covington added.

Covington altered other officers to the fleeing vehicle, and CCSO Lt. Brian Durham spotted the car near Airport Apartments on Highway 91.

“The vehicle pulled into the apartments and crashed into the mountainside,” Covington said.

According to officers, Ward and Marsillett then fled on foot into the woods and Ward had a dog with her that was known to be vicious.

Covington said he and Deputy David Munsey spotted Ward and she had the dog beside her.

“Deputy Munsey stated to Ms. Ward to come out and control the animal,” Covington said. “The dog then charged at Deputy Munsey biting him in the hand as he fired one shot injuring it. The dog took off back down the hill, and Ms. Ward finally came out of the woods.”

“Ms. Ward came by the animal shelter today and picked the pit bull up stating to (an animal shelter employee) that she will take full responsibility of the animal,” Covington continued. “The shelter advised Ms. Ward that the animal is vicious. She still advised them that she would take control of the animal.”

Under state law, a person can be charged with possessing a potentially vicious animal as a criminal offense if they own a dog “that may reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to public safety as demonstrated by any of the following behaviors: when unprovoked and off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog inflicts a bite causing bodily injury to a person or domestic animal; or when unprovoked and off the property of the owner of keeper of the dog, on two or more separate occasions chases, menaces or approaches a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner or apparent attitude of attack.”

Later in the day on Tuesday, Elizabethton Police Department Detective Joe Harrah charged Ward with auto theft in connection with an unrelated incident where she is accused of stealing a woman’s vehicle from a local retail store on Feb. 10.

At the time of Ward’s arrest, officers were not able to locate Marsillett, so the deputies obtained a warrant charging him with resisting stop/arrest.

Later in the day, around 3:20 p.m., Munsey was traveling on Highway 91 when he spotted Marsillett walking alongside the road. Munsey stopped and informed Marsillett that there was a warrant for his arrest and attempted to place him into custody.

“Mr. Marsillett then started to run across Highway 91 running toward the river,” Munsey said. “I did attempt to pursue Mr. Marsillett but he was able to make it into the river and cross to the other side of the river.”

Several deputies responded to the area and searched for Marsillett. Around 4:25 p.m., two deputies spotted Marsillett and were able to take him into custody near 235 Lincoln Drive. Deputies served the warrant taken out from the earlier incident and Munsey also charged Marsillett with resisting stop/arrest.

Ward, Stout, and Marsillett all appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Wednesday.

Stout entered a guilty plea to the charges of resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia. Judge Keith Bowers ordered him to pay a total of $300 in fines and court costs.

Bowers appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Ward and scheduled her to return to court on Feb. 23. She remains held at the Carter County Detention Center under a $14,500 bond.

Bowers appointed attorney C.J. Roberts to represent Marsillett. The District Attorney’s Office amended one of the charges against Marsillett from resisting stop/arrest to evading arrest. Marsillett now faces charges of one count of resisting arrest and one count of evading arrest and is scheduled to return to General Sessions Court on Feb. 23.

After hearing from court officials that Marsillett is currently out on bond on multiple charges of theft, burglary, and drug possession, and also has a pending violation of probation case before the General Sessions Court, Bowers increased Marsillett’s bond from $2,000 to $50,000.