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Tennessee State Troopers, Local Police, Apprehend Fugitive from Justice

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 11:01am

FALL BRANCH--- Tennessee State Troopers have apprehended and charged a Virginia man who had been on the run after crashing his vehicle Monday in Sullivan County.

Troopers say Michael Widneer of Washington County, Va. crashed his vehicle on Interstate 81 at the 56 mile marker.  Tennessee State Trooper David Osborne was dispatched to investigate, but when he arrived on scene the subject had already fled on foot leaving behind a bag of marijuana along with drug paraphernalia and ammunition located inside the crashed vehicle. Trooper Osborne requested a K9 from the Johnson City Police Department to assist in tracking and locating Widneer. A short time later, workers from a nearby construction site called the Kingsport Police Department reporting that a suspicious male subject appeared to be hiding at their location and was acting very suspicious.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Aviation Unit was called to aid in the search of the missing driver. Officers from the Kingsport Police Department, Johnson City Police Department, and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, also assisted with the search that was eventually called off.

Investigators received a call Tuesday from a separate construction site, located on Lebanon Road in the Colonial area of Sullivan County, where workers were approached by a very soiled and scratched white male who was acting very nervous and erratic. The workers stated that the individual attempted to take a cell phone from a worker. As investigators responded to the construction site they observed a white male running down the street that matched the witness description. The subject stopped running and told Officer Toby Wells of the Kingsport Police Department, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.” The suspect was detained and questioned by investigators.  It was discovered during the investigation that this individual was Widneer, the driver of the vehicle that crashed Monday on I-81.

Widneer was arrested and charged with several felonies, including possession a felony amount of marijuana, initiation of methamphetamine, and felony fugitive from justice out of Virginia. Widneer was also charged with criminal impersonation, identity theft, resisting stop halt and frisk.  

Trooper Matthew Harkleroad took Widneer into custody and transported him to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department.  Authorities from Virginia will seek extradition of Widneer.  He is charged in Virginia with failure to appear on charges of manufacturing schedule 1 and 2 drugs.

Troopers assigned to the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Fall Branch District, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, the Johnson City Police Department, and the Kingsport Police Department combined their investigative efforts in the apprehension Widneer.

A jail photo may be obtained from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

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