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Hawkins man sentenced to 10 years for child porn, two high speed chases

Jeff Bobo • Oct 17, 2018 at 12:47 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A Mooresburg man was sentenced in Hawkins County Criminal Court last week to six years for possession of child pornography and another four years for two high speed chases.

Heath Dudley Drinnon, 43, 9271 Highway 11-W, entered guilty pleas on Oct. 12 to 17 counts related to three separate cases: a high speed chase that occurred May 2, another that took place Nov. 18, 2017 and possession of child pornography discovered in August 2017.

On Feb. 1, Drinnon was named in a sealed Hawkins County grand jury indictment charging him with sexual exploitation of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The indictment alleged that on Aug. 29, 2017, Drinnon knowingly possessed photos and/or images of a minor engaged in sexual activity and that on Aug. 17 he assisted an underage female to leave the state against the wishes of her guardian.

On May 2, Rogersville Police Department Officer Josh Byrd spotted a Camaro with a taillight out traveling west on 11-W. When he approached the Camaro to conduct a traffic stop, Byrd recognized the driver as Drinnon, whom he knew to be wanted on the sealed indictment warrant.

Drinnon turned onto Hasson Street, but when Byrd attempted a traffic stop, Drinnon accelerated and led police on a high speed chase through Rogersville’s back streets.

Eventually Drinnon turned on Hawkins Street headed toward Main Street. At that point, RPD Officer Andy Banks pulled ahead of the Camaro in an attempt to box it in, at which time Drinnon allegedly rammed Banks’ patrol car twice.

Banks placed his cruiser in a position to force the Camaro off the road, which caused the vehicle to spin out of control onto a grassy area at East Court Apartments.

Drinnon then fled on foot, crossing Main Street, where Byrd reportedly took him to the ground.

As for the other chase, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Montgomery wasn’t attempting to pull over Drinnon on Nov. 18, 2017 north of Church Hill until the habitual motor offender decided to flee.

When Drinnon noticed a patrol car behind him, he reportedly accelerated, leading police on a chase reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Drinnon sped east on Carters Valley Road, then turned off the highway and attempted to elude deputies on the back roads.

While attempting to negotiate a curve on Morning Star Road, Drinnon struck a mailbox and several concrete blocks, then veered into a field, where his pickup came to a stop several hundred yards from the roadway.

Drinnon then fled from the wrecked vehicle, leaving a 26-year-old female passenger behind. Deputies located Drinnon hiding in the woods about 500 yards from the crash site.

On Oct. 12, Drinnon entered an Alford plea on the sexual exploitation of a minor charge, which has the effect of a guilty plea but is not an admission of guilt.

Drinnon also pleaded guilty on Oct. 12 to two counts of felony evading arrest, two counts of felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, two counts of evading arrest on foot, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, resisting arrest, speeding, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of driving on a revoked license, driving on a revoked license third offense, violation of the light law and stop sign violation.

Drinnon was sentenced as a repeat offender, which means he won’t be eligible for parole until he has served 35 percent of his sentence. He was also ordered to pay $7,183 in fines and fees.

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