'Wrong turn' at McMinn County sheriff's house lands pair in jail

'Wrong turn' at McMinn County sheriff's house lands pair in jail

June 18th, 2018 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

A man and woman traveling a remote, Southeast Tennessee country road spied who they believed was a police officer behind them in a black truck, so they turned into a long driveway in hopes of shaking the suspected lawman.

Jennifer Peak, left, and Larry Trueblood Jr.

Jennifer Peak, left, and Larry Trueblood Jr.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The driveway where they sought refuge last Thursday evening, however, was at the County Road 464 home of the man in the truck, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy. The encounter led the pair to a visit at the sheriff's other "house" — the county jail.

"It was definitely a wrong turn," Guy said in a statement on the incident report.

The car "visiting" Guy's home east of the small town of Englewood was occupied by Jennifer Peak, 29, of Madisonville, Tennessee and Larry Trueblood Jr., 24, of Englewood, Tennessee, the sheriff said. Guy said both were being sought on a number of active arrest warrants and had histories of drug and theft charges.

Ducking into a driveway is not an unusual dodge, the sheriff said.

"It's a pretty common tactic," Guy said. "Sometimes when suspects see a law enforcement vehicle, they will turn into a driveway hoping it will appear they are just residents going home, and hope the officer will just drive on by."

But that didn't happen.

"I was just going home. I watched them turn up my driveway and, of course, I followed them, thinking surely this wasn't what I thought it was," Guy said. "But sure enough, they drove right up to our house. I pulled up behind them, and when Trueblood saw me, he exited the car and ran off into the woods. I took Ms. Peak into custody and radioed for some additional officers."

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Trueblood remained on the run for about six hours until Facebook tips led authorities in McMinn and Monroe counties and Madisonville police officers to a residence on U.S. Highway 411 just inside Monroe County. Trueblood was taken into custody, and a stolen truck was found, Guy said.

Guy said Trueblood and Peak face a number of warrants and charges in McMinn and Monroe counties, including several charges of violating probation and fleeing to avoid a stop.

McMinn County Jail records show Peak has arrests going back to 2010, while Trueblood's arrests go back to 2012.

General Sessions Court officials in McMinn said Monday that no court dates have been set and neither Peak nor Trueblood has a lawyer on record.

The sheriff was able to appreciate the humor of the situation "after I got over being mad that night," Guy said with a laugh.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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