Carter County man faces multiple charges after fleeing traffic stop 

Published 3:25 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

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A Carter County man faces multiple charges after reportedly fleeing a traffic stop in a stolen vehicle, crashing, stealing another vehicle, and leading police on a second pursuit before crashing again and being taken into custody.

Deputies arrested Robert Jacob Ray, 32, of 1439 Riverview Drive, Elizabethton, and charged him with resisting arrest, two counts of felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and auto theft. He was additionally served with an outstanding warrant for auto theft.

The charges against Ray stem from a pair of police pursuits that occurred Tuesday after deputies spotted Ray driving a vehicle reported stolen from an area car dealership on Monday. Deputies first spotted the stolen vehicle near Hampton High School and attempted a traffic stop. Ray refused to stop and began driving at a high rate of speed. The pursuit reached speeds of approximately 90 mph on Highway 19E in the Valley Forge area, with Ray driving into oncoming traffic at one point.

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Deputies ended the pursuit due to safety concerns for other motorists. Shortly after, deputies were notified that the suspect vehicle had crashed on Highway 91 near the Burger Hut restaurant. A 911 caller reported that Ray and a passenger exited the crashed vehicle and stole a black Dodge pickup in the Fidelitone parking lot, fleeing north on Highway 91. Deputies located the pickup on Highway 91 near John Alfred Loop, initiating a second pursuit.

The pursuit ended when deputies performed a PIT maneuver, causing the truck to go off the roadway into a ditch. Ray attempted to drive the truck out of the ditch but was blocked by deputies. After being removed from the vehicle, Ray struggled with deputies but was taken into custody and transported to the Carter County Detention Center.

Ray is currently held at the Carter County Detention Center under a total bond of $82,000.