Local law enforcement agencies are having a hard time tracking down a man who was found to be driving a stolen pick-up truck.
The suspect was driving the truck Tuesday afternoon when he bailed from the truck as it rolled off the roadway, and he has evaded police ever since.
Mt. Juliet police said an officer driving an unmarked car spotted a Chevrolet S-10 pick-up truck on Interstate 40 east around 1:10 p.m. and a computer check of the registration revealed that the truck was stolen out of Maryville on March 10.
The officer called for assistance and waited for additional units to arrive to the scene before trying to stop the truck. Units arrived as the truck was driving on Highway 109 near Central Pike in Lebanon.
Police said that before officers could stop the truck, the suspect drove off the roadway, jumped out and started running. They said the suspect ran into a wooded area to the east of Highway 109 near Wilson Central High School.
Lebanon police, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol aviation also responded to the scene to assist Mt. Juliet police in locating the suspect.
“I’m so grateful for the response of our law enforcement partners,” said Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick. “They stopped what they were doing without hesitation and quickly responded to help us locate the suspect, which I am thankful of.”
Following a thorough search of the area the suspect was still not found, police said.
Wilson County schools are on Spring Break, but police said there were a few faculty members and students at the school during the search.
Mt. Juliet police said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan responded quickly to the scene himself to ensure the safety of the students and faculty. Wilson County Sheriff’s deputies were also positioned at the school as a precaution.
Officials delayed a junior varsity baseball game while the search was conducted.
Police said the suspect is a middle-aged white male with a medium build. He was wearing a light-colored, button-down shirt with a Hawaiian pattern and cargo shorts that were khaki or faded camouflage.
Police planned to maintain a heavy presence in the area through Tuesday night.
Police urged anyone who may have seen the suspect to call police immediately.