published Friday, June 10th, 2011

Stolen truck said to be involved in fatal wreck

James T. Meeks III
James T. Meeks III
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators have identified a Signal Mountain man as a suspect in this past weekend’s deadly Marion County crash.

James T. Meeks III, 18, faces charges of theft of a motor vehicle and burning personal property, according to District Attorney Mike Taylor of the 12th Judicial District.

Investigators believe that a stolen vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup truck, was involved in the Saturday incident that left three dead and one injured in Marion, Taylor said.

He said investigators believe Meeks took the truck from Sequatchie County and later burned the vehicle.

“Preliminary investigation indicates the vehicle Meeks is charged with [stealing] in Sequatchie County was involved in the collision in Marion County that resulted in the three deaths,” Taylor said Thursday.

Scott Clayton, 20, Emily Clayton, 21, both of Sale Creek, and Annie Blevins, 24, of Chattanooga, were killed when they were thrown from a Jeep on Big Fork Road early Saturday.

The Jeep went off the road in a curve and rolled. The passengers were thrown out and trapped under the vehicle, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said. The Jeep’s driver, Eric Blevins, 37, of Chattanooga, was injured.

Investigators are basing the charges against Meeks on interviews with witnesses, including Eric Blevins, Taylor said.

Meeks is in Gordon County Jail on unrelated charges. When he is released from jail, he will face the stolen vehicle charges, Taylor said.

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