Escapee ‘paints’ his way back into custody

A Loudon County Sherriff’s Office prisoner who escaped custody earlier in the day from Tennova Turkey Creek Medical Center was on the run for about an hour before being apprehended Wednesday, April 19, in Stonecrest Center.

The eventual re-arrestee, Brandon Deaton, was spotted by at least one resident along Sonja Drive as he snaked through Stonecrest subdivision, then ended up along Kingston Pike where he casually stole a hoodie sweatshirt from Farrell-Calhoun Paint store as he attempted to hide from authorities, witnesses said.

Customer Bryan Wiggins said he was in the store having paint mixed when Deaton accessed the business through the wide-open front door and stole the item of clothing. Wiggins later filmed Deaton’s apprehension by Loudon County Sherriff’s Office deputies in the shopping center parking lot.

Rick Biddle, who works at Farrell-Calhoun Paint, confirmed he and a co-worker were mixing paint at the back of the store when the theft occurred.

“It was an exciting day here, for sure,” Biddle said the following day. “We didn’t realize he had stolen the hoodie. It was actually the guy who owns (American Flooring, located in the same shopping center) who called the police. He had noticed (Deaton) walking back and forth here, and had also seen him jump in a dumpster.

“Helicopters were flying overhead looking for the guy,” Biddle added. “The hoodie he picked up was orange — I guess he wanted to blend in?

“We did get the hoodie back, but had to throw it away — it was covered with sweat and other stuff. But a hoodie? It was like 80 degrees yesterday.”

Also during the search for Deaton, Farragut High School principal Dr. John Bartlett notified parents via e-mail the school was placed briefly in a “soft lockdown. An escaped prisoner was spotted off Parkside Drive near Turkey Creek. We briefly went on a ‘soft lockdown’ posture as soon as we got the information. Within one minute of going into the lockdown, we were notified the person had been apprehended.

“Again, we are thankful for our law enforcement partners to keep us all safe,” Bartlett added.

According to a press release from LCSO Chief Deputy Zac Frye, Knox County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the search and eventual apprehension of Deaton, who had originally been taken into custody Tuesday, April 18, following a traffic stop initiated by LCSO on Tellico Parkway near Loudon.

“Deaton fled in his vehicle and a pursuit was initiated by several patrol deputies. After a short pursuit, Deaton purposely wrecked his vehicle in an attempt to further flee from deputies. The (wreck) caused injuries to Deaton, and he was taken into custody by LCSO and transported to Tennova Medical Center” in Farragut later that same evening.

Following his re-apprehension April 19, Deaton was transported back to the Loudon County Detention Facility, where he was booked.

 “The initial reason for the traffic stop was a registration violation and Deaton had outstanding warrants for his arrest,” the LCSO release stated.

“His current charges he’s being held on are as follows: violation of probation; felony failure to appear on aggravated assault; manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of methamphetamine; evading arrest; DUI; violation of implied consent; possession of drug paraphernalia; reckless driving; reckless endangerment; driving on roadways laned for traffic; misuse of evidence of registration; driving on revoked/suspended license; vandalism; and escape.

Frye said Deaton’s bond was set at $209,000. He remained jailed as of Monday, April 24.