KNOXVILLE- On August 8, 2019, Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Knoxville Regional Dispatch Operator Zach Bisch received a call from a domestic assault victim while inside a moving vehicle. During the call it became apparent to Operator Bisch that a female was being struck and held against her will. Due to the caller’s open cellphone line, dispatch was able to determine that the vehicle was traveling West on I-40.
With no vehicle description, the vehicle passed through the Knoxville area undetected. In a strategic move, THP Sergeant Robert Woody and Dispatch Supervisor Megan Rankin had Trooper Mark Chitwood activate his patrol car’s siren and set up along I-40 West at the 347 mile marker. This was done in an effort to see if dispatch could hear the trooper’s siren over the open cell phone line. Trooper James Capps was also staged along I-40 West around the 345 mile marker and utilized a different siren tone. Both siren tones were detected by dispatch over the open cellphone line. The two troopers were then able to pinpoint and identify the suspect vehicle.
The driver, 52-year-old Jerry York, of Cookeville, Tennessee began to throw meth into the backseat of his vehicle to avoid detection. Troopers stopped York without incident around the 345 mile marker. Trooper Chitwood performed a field sobriety test on York, and determined that he was under the influence. York was read his Miranda rights, placed under arrest and transported to the Roane County Jail. York was charged with DUI, driving on a revoked license, tampering with evidence, manufacturing sale and delivery of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Other felony charges are pending.
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two more bags of meth weighing approximately three grams located in the purse of 44-year-old Joann Sparks of Cookeville, Tennessee. Sparks was arrested and charged with manufacturing sale and delivery of methamphetamine.