Police: Man stole 4 vehicles in chase through 3 counties,driving one into Tennessee River

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Authorities arrested a man Saturday after he led them on a chase through three counties that included four stolen vehicles, the last of which he drove into the Tennessee River.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports , the incident began when Rhea County deputies responded to a report of a possible burglary in progress. Arriving at the scene, they saw a white Chevrolet pickup truck drive through a closed garage door.

According to an account based on a news release from Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal, deputies chased the vehicle through parts of two other counties before it was abandoned behind a home.

The driver fled on foot, stealing a blue Jeep from another home before abandoning that vehicle and stealing a blue truck. The driver then lost control of the truck and crashed it. He again fled on foot, first attempting to steal a Ranger all terrain vehicle at gunpoint from a homeowner before fleeing to a nearby home where he stole a Chevrolet Cruze.

By this time he was being pursued by deputies from Rhea, Hamilton, and Meigs counties as well as the Tennessee Highway Patrol. During the chase, the driver sideswiped another vehicle before driving the Cruze off the road and into the Tennessee River.

He swam to the opposite shore, coming out of the water at the Yuchi Wildlife Management Area.

After a short search, Kendall O’Neil Speegle was taken into custody and transported to the Rhea County Jail. He faces multiple charges, including aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000, felony evading arrest and felony reckless endangerment. Jail records did not list an attorney for Speegle.

According to the news release, the Rhea County Marine Patrol and the Hamilton County Dive Team were searching the Tennessee River for the stolen Chevrolet Cruze.

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