Johnson City man arrested after dangerous police chase in busy traffic


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Tonight, a Johnson City man is behind bars, facing a slew of charges after leading police on a high-speed chase through busy traffic. Police are now saying it is a miracle no one was injured. As investigators assess at least $15,000 in property damage from what happened Sunday, News 5's Kristi O'Connor spent Monday retracing the suspect's erratic trail. There are already nearly a dozen victims listed on the Johnson City Police report, after 32-year-old Ryan Presnell led officers on a nearly hour-long chase. It started on Seminole Drive when Presnell was spotted driving recklessly. He then made his way to Grace Fellowship Church in between church services Sunday morning. You can still see the destructive path Presnell made from circling the church and doing doughnuts in the parking lot. "This could have been a disaster," Lead Pastor Tom Oyler said. Police radio traffic, courtesy of, details the terrifying scene. "He about hit numerous pedestrians here in the parking lot," One officer said. "He swerved toward myself and 165 then took off." We followed Presnell's tire tracks to a neighborhood behind the church, before he came barreling back across the field. "When he come off the hill his airbag deployed," An officer said over the radio. Despite the airbag deploying, he kept on and headed straight for condos across the street from the church. Nada Stanley was on her balcony watching it all unfold. "The officer had his utility pistol pulled yelling 'stop stop!' and the guy was just going right on. At that point I doubt he could have stopped he was going so fast," Stanley said. Evidence indicates Presnell then headed for North Roan Street, and according to the police report, he rammed his Ford Expedition repeatedly into a TVA Credit Union ATM. Witnesses say he even got out of the car and punched it several times. "We believe that it was his attempt to try to get money from that ATM," Captain Matt Howell said. Police caught up with him again, but he hit the gas and headed onto Interstate- 26. Potential danger to the public was grave since he crossed the median into oncoming traffic. "Shut down I-26, he's running vehicles off the roadway," Officer said over radio traffic. "Box him in, box him in." Presnell escaped police again, driving up a hill right off the interstate and eventually ramming through a fence to enter a residential area. "All units, this vehicle does not get back out by the public," An officer stated. "He drove through people's backyards, he drove through fences, over shrubs, with no regard for anybody else's safety," Captain Howell said. Finally police caught up to Presnell's car when he crashed into farm equipment inside a barn on Silverdale Lane. But the chase did not stop there because he then got out of the SUV and started to run from police on foot. He was captured a short time later and police say he no longer put up a fight. According to the police report, Presnell told officers he had recently taken Oxycodone, Percocet, Lortab, Ectasy and methamphetamine. Presnell was released from the hospital Monday afternoon and Johnson City Police charged him with 11 counts of Reckless Endangerment, Possession of Unlawful Drug Paraphernalia, Simple Possession of Methamphetamine, 2 counts of Vandalism under $1000, Vandalism over $10,000, Burglary, Evading Arrest, Driving Under the Influence, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. Presnell is being held on a $146,000 bond and will be arraigned Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.