BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — On February 23, a Blount County Sheriff's Office deputy said he was running a routine patrol when a white Honda Civic with a black hood sped past him on New Blockhouse Road. He said he locked eyes with the driver and followed them down the road.
After briefly losing sight of the car and finding it again at the intersection of Fowler and Duncan Road, the deputy said a grey Mercedes C28 ran a stop sign and pulled in front of the Honda, stopping it from moving. The deputy said he left his patrol car and started investigating what was going on.
He said the people in the Mercedes accused a woman in the Honda, Crystal McCarty, 23, of stealing their dog from their home on Bass Aly. The owner then took the dog from McCarty, according to authorities.
The deputy then approached the people in the Honda: Tristen Godsey, 21, Carmen Stempfley, 20, a 1-year-old child and McCarty. According to the deputy, McCarty said she took the dog because she thought it needed a better home.
Godsey and Stempfley said they saw her take the dog, but did not know why. They said they drove away from the area and sped away from the home because "there were people chasing them."
Godsey also said McCarty initially jumped into his car with the dog and said there was a man chasing her. When he asked her what was happening, he said she yelled, "I stole this dog, drive!" according to a report from authorities.
When they passed the deputy, Godsey started going faster and said "he was not going to jail," according to authorities. Stempfley said she asked him to stop driving because her child was in the backseat, but she said he refused. He later said he was afraid of going to jail for helping McCarty steal the dog, according to authorities.
Godsey and McCarty were arrested. Authorities said they found needles and possible crystal methamphetamine in McCarty's pocket. Godsey was charged with evading arrest and reckless endangerment. McCarty was charged with theft and possession of drugs. Both were taken to the Blount County Jail.
While there, the deputy said Gofsey spoke with him and apologized for driving away from him. He also said he saw both McCarty and Stempfley using methamphetamine in his car while the 1-year-old child was there.
Authorities said they made a referral with the Department of Children's Services, and an investigation into Stempfley for child abuse and neglect is ongoing.
The dog was returned to its owners.