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Church Hill police nab couple in SUV reported stolen in New Mexico

Jeff Bobo • Jan 7, 2020 at 6:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — An early morning traffic stop in Church Hill on Monday for refusing to dim high beams resulted in police seizing a vehicle that was stolen out of New Mexico.

Church Hill Police Department Officer Chad Gillenwater also allegedly seized two loaded syringes, a gram of meth and a meth pipe from the driver, Jonathan David Harrell, 44, 168 Whispering Oaks Drive, Rogersville.

Around 12:35 a.m. Monday, Gillentwater reportedly observed a white Subaru Outback traveling east on Highway 11-W near the Press Road intersection with its high beams activated.

Gillenwater stated that he observed the driver refuse to dim the high beams, at which time a traffic stop was conducted on 11-W at the Goshen Valley Road intersection.

The vehicle had New Mexico tags, and Gillenwater said he learned from a Central Dispatch computer check that the vehicle was reported stolen on Dec. 3, 2019, out of Taos County, New Mexico.

Harrell reportedly admitted that he didn't have a valid drivers license, and a computer check revealed that his license was suspended out of Hamblen County for driving without insurance.

Upon being asked if he had any illegal substances in his possession, Harrell reportedly voluntarily gave Gillenwater two “loaded” syringes that he had in his pocket.

Gillenwater stated in his report that he also found approximately one gram of meth in a small bag in an open pack of cigarettes in Harrell's pocket, as well as a meth pipe in the vehicle.

Harrell had one passenger in the vehicle with him, Leslie Nicole Graybeal, 40, 980 Woodlawn Ave., Rogersville, who was wanted in Hawkins County on a probation violation warrant. Graybeal pleaded guilty last January to fraudulent use of a credit card and remains on probation for that offense.

Graybeal reportedly told Gillenwater she had assumed possession of the vehicle Sunday in Greene County and that she had driven to the Church Hill Inn that night to meet with Harrell.

Harrell and Graybeal were each charged with theft by possession over $1,000. Harrell was additionally charged with meth possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.

Both were arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and will appear again on Feb. 3. As of Monday evening, Harrell remained held on $3,000 bond while Graybeal was held without bond.

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