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Steakhouse cook on break stops DUI suspect in busy downtown

By Olivia Caridi, ocaridi@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 07 2014 04:09:10 PM CDT
BRISTOL, Va. -

Kevin Hatcher, a cook from Quaker Steak & Lube in Bristol Virginia, can call himself a hero after he stopped a driver suspected of driving while while intoxicated after a multi-vehicle accident in the busy downtown area Saturday night.

It was a little after 9 p.m., and Hatcher was taking a break behind Quaker Steak & Lube when he saw a car driving erratically down Piedmont Avenue. "The guy was backing out from hitting the vehicle right here. He more or less just crunched around it," Hatcher says.

The driver, James Larry Parsons, 37, of Bristol, Va., was arrested by Bristol Police and charged with driving under the influence after hitting four parked cars on Piedmont Avenue in downtown Bristol.

Hatcher says the scene was chaotic and people were screaming. He said he did something unlike him. "I don't know what came over me. Everybody else was just standing in shock, and I had to act. I had to do something," he says.

He ran to the car, opened the front door, jumped on Parsons's lap, and slammed on the brakes. Hatcher said the driver would have kept going had he not acted.

Bristol, Virginia Police say Parsons was driving under in the influence in a 2010 Mazda CX7. He drove north on Piedmont Avenue, hitting four parked vehicles, one of which had people inside.

Witnesses say he ran through a red light on the corner of State Street and Piedmont Avenue. The car had severe damage to the front and rear bumpers, as well as damage to the entire passenger side, according to a statement from the Bristol Police Department.

He was arrested and taken to the Bristol, Virginia Jail. For now, all that's left of the multi-vehicle accident is some debris on the road and a trail of oil marking the path of impacts.

Hatcher believes he stopped something that could have ended in the deaths of innocent people. "I feel like this is something I can tell my son when he gets older, that his daddy was a hero for the day," he says.

Parsons is now awaiting a bond hearing. There were no injuries reported in the incident.