Woman steals police cruiser, leads officers on chase - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Woman steals police cruiser, leads officers on chase

FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WAFF) - A carnival worker wanted on felony charges in Virginia leads Tennessee law enforcement officers on a high speed chase Wednesday morning in one of their own patrol cars.

A Fayetteville police officer pulled over 25-year-old Sarah Marie Armstrong in Fayetteville, Tennessee around midnight Wednesday for a routine traffic violation. After running her license, the officer discovered Armstrong had several felony warrants for her arrest in Virginia.

Police Lt. Joel Massey said Armstrong was in Fayetteville as a carnival worker for a company operating the Lincoln County Fair this week.

The Fayetteville officer arrested Armstrong, but when he walked away to question a passenger in her car, she somehow squeezed through a small window in the plastic divider between the front and back seats.

Armstrong climbed into the driver seat and took off in the patrol car.

Lincoln County deputies, Tennessee state troopers and Fayetteville Police chased her down U.S. 431.

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said Armstrong was driving in the wrong direction at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. The whole time, officers said she was screaming profanities over the police radio.

Officers and deputies finally managed to stop her about four miles north of the Alabama state line on U.S. 431. Using their own patrol cars, they forced her to run off the road and crash.

Armstrong was arrested and charged with evading arrest, three counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of aggravated assault, auto theft, three counts of vandalism, resisting arrest, escape, driving under the influence and fugitive from justice.

Her bond was set at $207,000.

Armstrong is the second fugitive connected to the Lincoln County Fair to be arrested this week.

WAFF went to the fair's president himself. He tells US he has about 300 employees on fair grounds and as far as the fair is concerned, they screen all of their volunteers.

But listen to this-- the people who run the carnival aren't part of that group of volunteers.

Carter says he hires an outside carnival company called Belle City and they bring in their own people. 

So as far as Armstrong, or any other fugitive who happens to be tied to the fair, he says they can't claim responsibility.

"We depend on Belle City to screen their people. It's a good carnival with good people and we depend on them to bring good people. There's always things that slip through the cracks, like in any business, and I assume that's what happened there," said fair president, Jimmy Carter.

Carter says they take security very seriously at the fair to make sure everyone stays safe. They have 35 deputies patrolling the grounds throughout the week and he says at any given time, you'll find at least 10 on duty, including overnight.

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