Troopers were recently able to use a unique way to locate a female being attacked in a vehicle. It also resulted in two arrests.
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Knoxville Regional Dispatch Operator Zach Bisch received a call from a domestic assault victim while inside a moving vehicle. During the call it became apparent to Operator Bisch that a female, Joann Sparks, was being struck and held against her will. Because of the caller’s open cellphone line, dispatch was able to determine that the vehicle was traveling west on Interstate 40.
With no vehicle description, the vehicle passed through the Knoxville area undetected. In a strategic move, THP Sergeant Robert Woody and Dispatch Supervisor Megan Rankin had Trooper Mark Chitwood activate his patrol car’s siren and set up along I-40 West at the 347 mile marker (Rockwood/Harriman exit). This was done in an effort to see if dispatch could hear the trooper’s siren over the open cell phone line. Trooper James Capps was also staged along I-40 West around the 345 mile marker and utilized a different siren tone. Both siren tones were detected by dispatch over the open cellphone line. The two troopers were then able to pinpoint and identify the suspect vehicle.
The driver, 52-year-old Jerry York, of Cookeville, allegedly began to throw meth into the backseat of his vehicle to avoid detection. Troopers stopped York without incident around the 345 mile marker. Trooper Chitwood performed a field sobriety test on York, and determined that he was under the influence. York was read his Miranda rights, placed under arrest and transported to the Roane County jail. York was charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic assault, DUI, driving on a revoked license, tampering with evidence, manufacturing sale and delivery of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held in the Roane County jail on bonds totaling over $40,000.
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two more bags of meth weighing approximately three grams located in the purse of 44-year-old Joann Sparks of Cookeville. Sparks was arrested and charged with manufacturing sale and delivery of methamphetamine. She is being held in the Roane County jail on $10,000 bond.