SRO blocks road to prevent 100 mph DUI pursuit from entering busy school zone

Jeff Bobo • Dec 15, 2017 at 8:00 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County deputy managed to block Surgoinsville’s Main Street Thursday afternoon, preventing a DUI suspect from entering the school zone at its busiest time during a 100 mph pursuit.

Shortly before 3 p.m., Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds observed a green Buick traveling east on Main Street near the Bear Hollow Road intersection.

Hammonds said the vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic, and he recognized the driver to be Anthony Lynn Sandidge, whose license he knew to be revoked for three previous DUIs.

“As I was turning my patrol car and activating my blue lights and siren, the vehicle suddenly accelerated to a high rate of speed and began passing other vehicles near Thurman Road on the wrong side of the roadway,” Hammonds said. “As we approached the blind curve at Main Street and Old Stage Road, Mr. Sandidge again crossed into the oncoming lane at speeds in excess of 100 mph.”

Surgoinsville Elementary and Middle schools were about to dismiss for the day just as Sandidge was rolling toward the school zone at 100 mph.

Hammonds radioed Surgoinsville SRO Jeff Walker about the approaching pursuit, and the deputy pulled his patrol car into the roadway, forcing Sandidge to turn abruptly into a nearby driveway.

Sandidge, 47, 2006 Main St., Surgoinsville, was then taken into custody.

Hammonds reportedly observed Sandidge to have a strong odor of alcohol. Sandidge was also allegedly “very belligerent” and refused to submit to a blood test.

He was charged with DUI fourth offense, felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, driving on revoked second offense, improper passing, no insurance and violation of the implied consent law.

DUI fourth offense generally results in an additional grand jury indictment for felony violation of the Habitual Motor Offender Act.

Sandidge’s previous DUI convictions occurred in 2011 and in July and April of this year. He is on probation for those most recent charges.

As of Friday, Sandidge was held in the Hawkins County Jail with no bond set pending arraignment Monday morning.

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