The suspected gunman in a Tuesday road rage incident on Interstate 81 was arrested shortly thereafter in Blountville, where he allegedly waved his firearm at a separate motorist and stopped traffic on Highway 11-W.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reports Dale Taylor, 25, also faces charges of escape and resisting arrest, as he attempted to kick out a squad car's window and fought with arresting officers.
According to an SCSO incident report and scanner traffic from Tuesday afternoon, Sullivan County dispatch had been alerted to a man shooting a gun at someone in another jurisdiction. Bristol Tennessee Police Department Capt. Terry Johnson confirmed to the Times-News that the road rage-fueled altercation occurred on I-81, just inside the city limits.
Taylor is alleged to have fired a gun towards an occupied vehicle at the Tennessee Welcome Center. Assistant Sullivan County District Attorney Gene Perrin says charges are forthcoming in that first incident, pending completion of an investigation.
Shortly after shots were fired on I-81, at approximately 12:55 p.m., Sullivan County authorities were alerted to an 11-W motorist who was "pointing a gun and racking it." In statements later obtained by police, the victim stated he was westbound on 11-W near J. H. Fauver Road. A Pontiac Grand Prix reportedly approached from behind "at an extremely high rate of speed."
The driver of the car, later identified as Taylor, allegedly swerved back and forth while following the other motorist, then sped past. After pulling over in front of the other driver, Taylor reportedly "brake checked him as if he was trying to cause an accident."
The victim told police that he flashed the headlights on his vehicle. That reportedly prompted Taylor to produce a black handgun out his driver's side window, pull the slide and point it towards the other driver.
According to an SCSO incident report, the complainant slammed his brakes. Taylor is alleged to have then pulled approximately 30 feet in front of him, with both vehicles traveling extremely slowly to a red light at the intersection of 11-W and Highway 394.
When the light turned green, according to the victim, Taylor refused to accelerate forward. As other motorists backed up and honked their horns, Taylor reportedly pulled to the shoulder of the road, then turned onto Central Heights Road. The victim stopped in the parking lot of Dollar General to wait for police.
According to SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart, officers arrived to Central Heights Road to find Taylor standing beside of his car. He was reportedly talking to residents of a home, who stated that they didn't know him.
As an aside, Taylor had reportedly arrived to their front porch the week prior, claiming "a woman ran him off the road so he tried to shoot her tires out." Both residents reported being "leery" of him.
When approached by police on Tuesday afternoon, Taylor initially complied with verbal commands and was taken into custody. But while inside the back of an SCSO cruiser, Taylor reportedly cussed officers and kicked the windows multiple times. After refusing to calm down and struggling with police, he was pepper sprayed, secured and transported to jail in Blountville.
Taylor, of 431 Rodefer Hollow Road, is currently charged in Sullivan County with aggravated assault, attempted escape, resisting arrest, driving an unregistered vehicle and failure to have insurance.
According to an SCSO incident report, a BTPD detective responded to the scene of arrest to process evidence from Taylor's car, including a Ruger handgun. Investigation into the alleged shooting near the Tennessee Welcome Center is continuing.