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DUI suspect crashes twice with infant, flees Kingsport police

Rain Smith • Dec 12, 2018 at 7:15 PM

KINGSPORT — A Johnson City woman has been arrested after allegedly striking another vehicle at a red light, fleeing police, then crashing into a pole at Holston Valley Medical Center — all while reportedly intoxicated with an infant in her car.

Melinda D. Jenkins, 22, Skyline Drive, was arrested Monday. She faces a litany of charges, including child abuse and neglect.

The incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 24. According to an affidavit filed in Kingsport General Sessions Court, a woman called police to the HMG parking lot on West Stone Drive.

When a Kingsport officer arrived, she relayed how a Volkswagen Beetle had rear-ended her as she was stopped at a nearby red light. As police were speaking with the woman, the suspect vehicle drove past and the officer followed it onto Gibson Mill Road.

A stop was conducted at a parking lot on East Ravine Road. The reporting officer says that as he walked toward the Volkswagen, the driver — later identified as Jenkins — put the car into reverse and backed onto a curb. When the officer smacked the driver’s side window, Jenkins allegedly looked at him, placed the vehicle in drive and fled the scene.

Out of concern for public safety, no pursuit was initiated. The officer then headed back to HMG to speak with the initial victim of the hit-and-run.

On the way there, at the main entrance to Holston Valley Medical Center on West Ravine Road, the officer found the Beetle crashed into a light pole. Jenkins was reportedly unconscious and trapped inside the vehicle.

Police also found her 7-month-old son in the car. He was restrained in a child safety seat and uninjured. The Department of Children’s Services was contacted, and the boy was placed into the care of a family member.

Meanwhile, Jenkins was treated for injuries at the hospital, where she allegedly told an EMT that she had been drinking vodka. She consented to a blood sample, which was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for testing.

Jenkins was later released from medical care and located Monday by Johnson City Police. They took her into custody on multiple warrants for the Kingsport Police Department: driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, child abuse and neglect, evading arrest, failure to exercise due care, running a stop sign and leaving the scene of a crash.

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