Sevierville Police officers responded to a reported shoplifting at Walmart Supercenter, 1414 Parkway at approximately 5:41 p.m. yesterday, Thursday, December 26, 2019.
Upon arrival, the suspect, later identified as 30-year old Joseph Lewis, Jr. of Bybee, Tennessee, was seen getting into a passenger vehicle. As an SPD officer pulled behind the suspect, Mr. Lewis proceeded to drive backwards, almost striking pedestrians, including a child. As Mr. Lewis continued to drive backwards, he struck several private vehicles before coming to a brief halt whereupon an adult female passenger jumped out of his car. Mr. Lewis accelerated forward and struck an SPD patrol vehicle and sped away.
Based upon his reckless and dangerous actions, officers then pursued Mr. Lewis onto the Parkway northbound, where he struck another private vehicle near Park Road. Mr. Lewis continued to drive recklessly and at high speeds. Officers attempted to stop his vehicle on Park Road, resulting in a crash with a patrol vehicle. The officer involved in that crash subsequently went to LeConte Medical Center for evaluation and was released.
Mr. Lewis continued to flee, ignoring traffic signals, striking one patrol vehicle and almost striking another. Mr. Lewis made his way back onto the Parkway northbound, at one point driving into southbound traffic, before turning east on Main Street/Dolly Parton Parkway. Mr. Lewis continued eastbound at a high rate of speed, disobeying multiple traffic signals before crashing into a pick-up truck and an SUV in the area of Food City, 741 Dolly Parton Parkway.
The crash near Food City resulted in Mr. Lewis being transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center via Lifestar with what appeared at the scene to be non-life threatening injuries. One person in the SUV was transported to LeConte Medical Center with what appeared at the scene to be minor injuries.
Multiple felony and misdemeanor warrants are pending on Mr. Lewis, including aggravated kidnapping (the adult female who jumped from the suspect’s vehicle at Walmart is the victim), eight counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, multiple traffic offenses, three counts of leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a revoked license, no insurance, illegal registration and shoplifting.
The Tennessee Highway patrol is investigating the crashes related to this incident, per regular SPD policy.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.