Russell County

Search for wanted man in early-morning chase ends with arrest

SALTVILLE, Va. - Saltville Police say a man who lead them on an early morning chase is now in jail. It's a story we first told you about Friday; officers have been busy the last few days going door-to-door after their suspect bolted from the car.

A search that covered land and water after a man ran a stop sign in Glade Spring, leading officers on a chase to Henrytown Road in Saltville. Wednesday night Troy Lee Thomas was arrested and is now facing Felony Eluding charges, as well as felony manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine charges. "Washington County Virginia Sheriff patrol officers got information on his whereabouts and took him into custody at his home," said Saltville Police Chief Rob Hall.

Police have been looking for Thomas since early Friday morning after the chase came to a screeching halt at the Holston River, where it's believed Thomas swam across and disappeared into the woods. But Chief Hall believes Thomas actually made more than one trip. " Apparently Mr. Thomas was able to swim back across the river. We got information from a very reliable source that he came pretty close to drowning on his way back and very definitely suffering from hypothermia," he said.

We've also learned around 10 a.m. that same morning, Thomas was back on Henrytown Road going door-to-door looking for a change of clothes. Clarence Holmes lives on that road and says his neighbor answered Thomas' knock at the door and gave him a cup of coffee and a jacket. "We thought he was dead, maybe froze to death. I don't know how he got back over," added Holmes.

A car was left behind Friday and inside police found a one-pot meth lab, as well as precursors to make meth. Chief Hall adds this arrest was a help to keep the community safe. "Well I think any time we shut down a meth lab it's a good thing because they are so portable," he said.

Police tell us during the search there was no indication Thomas was a violent threat; it was more a matter of public safety.

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