Man sought in Cleveland patrol car theft arrested

Man sought in Cleveland patrol car theft arrested

January 11th, 2013 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Charles James Masengale, from left, Amber Michelle Millaway


Charles James Masengale

Carrying or possession of weapon

Theft over $10,000

Evading arrest

Reckless endangerment

Possession of drugs for resale

Possession of drug paraphernalia

Promotion of methamphetamine manufacturing

Evading arrest

Driving without a license

Violation of registration

Financial responsibility

Amber Michelle Millaway

Possession of drugs

Possession of drugs for resale

Possession of drug paraphernalia

Promotion of methamphetamine manufacturing

Source: Bradley County court records

Charles James Masengale crashed his car Saturday. He kept going. A second time, now with the lights of a police car shining in his rearview mirror, he crashed again. A Cleveland, Tenn., officer stopped Masengale, handcuffed him, and put him in the back seat of his own patrol car.

Masengale kept going.

This time, he wiggled the handcuffs from behind his back to the front of his body. As officer J.R. Burnette chatted with a witness, Masengale snaked through a sliding Plexiglass window in the metal cage that separates the back seat from the front of the car, according to police. His bound hands pressed against the steering wheel, Masengale stomped on the accelerator, they said. Soon after, he crashed the patrol car, but he kept going, now fleeing on foot, police said.

Masengale, 29, got away. For five days, officers couldn't find him.

"He was hiding," police spokeswoman Evie West said. "No one was giving us information about where he was."

On Wednesday night, West said, Cleveland police searched three counties, knocking on the front doors of Masengale's friends and relatives. They also searched for 20-year-old Amber Michelle Millaway. On Saturday night, according to police, she sat next to Massengale and a bag of methamphetamine in a black Honda.

After Masengale drove away in Burnette's car, Millaway was taken to SkyRidge Medical Center to treat her crash injuries. An officer was supposed to take her to jail, but Millaway walked out of the hospital by herself, West said.

No officer stayed with Millaway, she said, because they were trying to catch Masengale.

"We just couldn't find him," West said.

Finally, after an anonymous tip, officers found Massengale and Millaway at 2:15 a.m. Thursday inside the home of Millaway's sister, Crystal Smith, at 2316 Old Harrison Pike. Officers charged Masengale with five misdemeanors and six felonies, including reckless endangerment, evading arrest and theft over $10,000. They also charged Millaway with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

On Saturday, West said, Masengale hit a car on 25th Street before driving away. Four minutes later, Burnette reported seeing Masengale steering erratically. When the officer followed him and flashed his police lights, Masengale sped away before crashing at the intersection of Westside Drive and Georgetown Road.

Burnette found the methamphetamine in a clear plastic bag atop the car's center console, according to an arrest report. He said he also found a straw for snorting, digital scales and a glass pipe.

Masengale was charged with theft in 2001 in Hamilton County, court records show. He and Millaway were held at the Bradley County Jail on Thursday. Masengale's bond is set at $65,000, and Millaway's is $50,000.