Photo courtesy CCSO

Claiborne Sheriff’s officers recover a load of contraband following a high-speed chase on the morning of Feb. 14 down Hwy. 63 toward Harrogate.

Suspect in high speed chase dies

One of the suspects in a high-speed chase on Feb. 14 has died as a result of a stroke while incarcerated, according to Claiborne sheriff Bob Brooks. Jeffery Drinnon Jr., 38, of Mooresburg was one of two suspects arrested on multiple charges stemming from an early morning pursuit by Claiborne Sheriff’s officers that netted a load of contraband. Drinnon was found unresponsive in his jail cell on Feb. 16 and transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He died the following day.

Drinnon and his passenger Adam Rhea, 32, of Morristown, became involved in a high-speed pursuit when officers spotted the vehicle being driven in a suspicious manner along Back Valley Road in Speedwell.

The two suspects sped away, leading Sgt. DeWayne Napier and deputies Adam Southern, Carl Mozingo, Brian Isbell and Medic/SWAT Jacob Crawford in pursuit, according to the CCSO press release.

The caravan raced down Hwy. 63 heading toward the city of Harrogate before the suspects’ vehicle was apprehended.

Approaching the stopped vehicle, deputy Southern noticed Rhea with a firearm. Upon further inspection, the deputies recovered a Rugger semi-automatic, three pounds of marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, according to the release.

Drinnon was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, evading arrest, felony possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of the Drug Free School Zone Act, driving on a suspended license and violations of the seat belt and financial responsibility laws.

Rhea is currently in jail, charged with four counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and one count each of possession of a firearm, felony possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of the Drug Free School Zone Act.

Drinnon had been incarcerated on a $100,000 bond.