Two men were arrested Jan. 9 after they led deputies on a chase that nearly crashed into a group of people trying to move a tree.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Narcotics Agent Dalton Rinehart said he was following a white Hyundai on Bethlehem Road because it matched the description of a car driven by Billy Joe Fritts, who was wanted on several outstanding warrants, including an aggravated assault warrant out of McMinn County.

Rinehart said as he watched he noticed the car didn’t have a working tag light and crossed over into oncoming traffic before turning into a driveway without using a turn signal.

Rinehart said he turned on his blue lights and the car pulled back onto Bethlehem Road and accelerated quickly. Rinehart said he gave chase, but they soon came upon a tree down across the road where several people, including Deputy Mike Blankenship, were trying to remove it.

Rinehart said the Hyundai swerved to avoid striking the tree and nearly hit several people before wrecking off an embankment.

Despite the wreck, Rinehart said two people got out of the car and took off running but were apprehended quickly by him and Blankenship.

Rinehart said Fritts was in fact the driver of the car and Charles Davis was the passenger. Rinehart said a search of Fritts turned up a small amount of meth and baggies and a syringe were found in the car.

Fritts, 37, Shoal Creek Road, Englewood, was charged with felony evading arrest, simple possession of meth and reckless endangerment.

Davis, 44, Bethlehem Road, Madisonville, was charged with resisting arrest.

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