Hawkins man who fled after near miss with school bus arrested four months later

Jeff Bobo • Jan 9, 2020 at 7:30 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County man who has been wanted since Aug. 12, when he allegedly flipped his car after nearly striking a school bus full of children in Surgoinsville, was arrested Wednesday evening at his home.

Craig Kevin Barnett, 49, 2224 Main Street, Surgoinsville, allegedly fled on foot following the crash, which occurred at the Phipps Bend Road intersection of Main Street on Aug. 12, shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Barnett's driver's license has been revoked since 1990 and he has seven previous convictions for driving on a revoked license.

Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds told the Times News Thursday, that empty beer cans were located in Barnett's vehicle after the crash.

The school bus driver reportedly told Hammonds on Aug. 12, that he had just let some children off his bus at Phipps Bend Road when he observed a vehicle top the hill headed in his direction at a high rate of speed.

According to the bus driver, the car ran off the right side of the road, over corrected back onto the road, and began to skid sideways, and barely missed the front end of the school bus.

The car then went over an embankment and flipped onto its top, Hammonds said.

A second witness told Hammonds he observed a slender white male with a beard and long hair exit the vehicle and take off running after the crash.

Hammonds said his investigation revealed Barnett to be the suspect.

At the time of the crash, Barnett was wanted on a probation violation warrant out of Hawkins County Criminal Court stemming from an April 30, 2018, conviction for violation of the Habitual Motor Offender Act and failure to give immediate notice of an accident.

Hammonds said it was believed that Barnett may have been hiding out in Sullivan County the past few months, and thought enough time had passed and it was safe to come home.

He was served with both arrest warrants at his home Wednesday evening, and was being held without bond at the Hawkins County Jail.

He will be arraigned Monday, in Hawkins County Sessions Court on charges including reckless endangerment, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a revoked license 8th offense and no insurance.

He is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court on the probation violation on Feb. 7.

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