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THP: Trooper involved in early morning chase and shootout

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 04 2013 12:46:20 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 12:43:16 PM CST

An early Thursday morning police chase ends in a shootout involving a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, leaving two people are behind bars.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

An early Thursday morning police chase ends in a shootout involving a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, leaving two people are behind bars. View mugshots and photos from the scene

Tennessee Highway Patrol officials told us their dispatch got a complaint of a car they said was driven by 20-year-old Derrick Kitzmiller of Gray, Tennessee, was tailgating another vehicle.

When dispatch sent a trooper to stop the car, THP officials said a pursuit started around mile marker 51 on Interstate 81 then onto Interstate 26. Troopers said the chase continued off the interstate when the cars got off the Eastern Star Road exit and turned on to Hog Hollow Road.

"The vehicle that we were pursing lost control. There was a crash at that time. There were shots fired," said Trooper Noah Click with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Troopers told us at least 15 gunshots were fired between Kitzmiller and THP trooper Jeff Appleba, leaving both cars riddled with bullet holes.

We're told no one was hurt in the shootout, but nearby residents said the chaos and commotion was overwhelming.

"I heard some yelling, and a lot more yelling, and then some more police officers showed up, and then some more yelling," said Joel Poole who lives nearby.

Officials said it's unclear who pulled the trigger first at this point, and little information is being released on the details of the shooting itself.    

Both Kitzmiller and the passenger/owner of the car (according to THP), Jennifer Russell, were arrested.

In the meantime, investigators work to piece together the puzzle of exactly what happened; thankful no one was caught in the crossfire.

"We are very fortunate no one was hurt. As you can tell, with the surroundings, we are in a residential area, and that adds more danger to any type of police chase or shots fired," said Trooper Click.

Officials told us Kingsport police were the ones to arrest the suspects, but they are now being held at the Washington County Detention Center.

Kitzmiller is charged with attempted second degree murder, felony evading, driving on a suspended license, and speeding.

Russell is charged with felony altering title or registration.