PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A little turtle power helped the Perry County Sheriff’s Office land two wanted suspects behind bars.
Deputy Josh Duke was out patrolling Wednesday morning when he stopped to move a turtle from the roadway, leading to a much bigger discovery and landing two suspects behind bars.
“I’ve moved snakes, I’ve moved turtles, other things,” Deputy Josh Duke explained.
Carrying a deputy badge comes with a list of duties when it comes to keeping the streets safe.
“It’s just a game of chance. Every time you go out, you never know what you are going to see,” explained Duke.
It was a turtle’s slow pace Wednesday morning that would lead to a quick apprehension for Deputy Duke.
“I got out, checked on the turtle, moved it to the side of the road,” he explained.
Praise for the deputy’s kind efforts to Mother Nature came from the vehicle behind him, leading to a bigger discovery.
“The occupants of the vehicle were clapping, saying, ‘Thank you for moving the turtle out of the street,’” he said.
The little guy safely moved on, unknowingly saving the day as the powder blue Mazda 3 caught Duke’s keen eye.
“You don’t see that too often. It kind of stands out,” Duke said.
The Mazda was wanted in a BOLO after four shots were fired in a road rage incident on Mother’s Day.
“They weren’t too happy and kind of blamed the turtle,” Duke laughed.
You might even call him a K-9 turtle after what the deputy discovered next, along with a gun with four spent rounds.
“There was meth. They also had residue from MDMA, which ecstasy with their meth and some small amounts of marijuana,” said Deputy Duke.
The deputy and the turtle, who some are now calling a hero in a half shell, defeated crime together.
“I’m long past the teenage years, but hero in a half shell we can do that,” Duke joked, adding, “Maybe we will deputize him.”
Sheriff Nick Weems said it’s no doubt an unusual case, unlike any he recalls in his more than 20 years in law enforcement.
“In this line of work we do have strange things; things fall right into our lap and in this particular case the turtle saved the day,” Sheriff Weems smiled.
Neal and Tuesday Sanchez were arrested at the scene. Neal is facing Aggravated Assault and Possession of Methamphetamine. Tuesday faces a charge for filing a false report. The sheriff says more charges are pending.