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3-county chase ends in arrests

A fugitive from justice out of Bardstown, Kentucky, is being held in the Claiborne County Jail after a three-county chase inside Tennessee led to the arrests on Jan. 19 of the felon and his New Tazewell alleged accomplice.

Collin D. Hilbert, 20, allegedly gave four agencies a run for their money as pursuit by Hancock County Sheriff’s officers were eventually assisted by sheriff’s officers in Claiborne and Grainger counties. The multi-unit caravan apprehended the suspects near Rutledge, in Grainger County.

The pursuit allegedly came to a halt when the vehicle, driven by Hilbert’s sidekick Kelly R. Jessee, 36, slammed into a Bean Station Police Department cruiser, with a little help from CCSO detective Eric Fraley, who reportedly gave the suspects’ vehicle a little ‘bump.’

According to a report, the incident began when the Hancock County Sheriff’s officers were called to the scene of a possible stolen vehicle. Apparently, the suspects decided to run, instigating the protracted chase. The suspects entered Claiborne County via Hwy. 33 N, where the caravan grew larger as detective Fraley and other CCSO officers joined the pursuit.

The chase continued southeast, via U.S. Hwy. 25E, where it crossed into Grainger County, picking up units from the GCSO and the Bean Station police.

A search of the vehicle netted a .12 gauge sawed-off pistol grip shotgun, according to Claiborne Sheriff David Ray.

Hilbert is charged as a fugitive from justice under a Kentucky warrant for felony vehicle theft.

Jessee is charged with felony evading arrest, driving on a revoked license, reckless driving and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Two women, traveling with the suspects during the incident, were not charged and were later released.

According to Ray, the incident came to an end without injury.

Ray said he would like to thank the sheriff’s offices of Hancock and Grainger counties, along with the Bean Station Police Department, for their help in apprehending these “dangerous individuals.”