Scruffies on drugs, drink and crazy


It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had an installment of Tales of the Scruffy City, primarily because we’ve been tied up with more stories than we could keep up with —  but that didn’t stop the number of unread police reports in our Inbox from swelling to truly frightening proportions. 

Interestingly, while there’s usually a pretty good assortment of different types of malfeasance in the reports we get from law enforcement, the past few weeks seemed to be dominated by four categories, so much so that we now feel confident in making a quasi-official pronouncement: Everyone in Knox County is on drugs. Or drunk. Or crazy. Or else they’re making phone calls about people who are on drugs, drunk, or crazy. 

Case(s) in point …

Raccoon Valley Road is a very long, very twisty, and at times very narrow stretch of asphalt pretending to be a road in the hinterlands of far North Knox County. 

In other words, it’s not a good place at any time of the day or night for pedestrians, but it’s an especially dangerous location for people who apparently believe they’re in an episode of High School Musical when the moonlight strikes them.

Of course, try telling that to the guy that Knox County officers encountered at 3:41 a.m. August 10. 

As the officers so eloquently put it in the ensuing arrest report, the 27-year-old man was “walking and dancing on a dark, well-traveled road with no shirt and no shoes wearing a backpack.”

Unsurprisingly, the officers noted that his “pupils were pinpricks and he was unable to stop moving and twitching.” They then decided that the prancing pedestrian was intoxicated on Bacchus-only-knows what chemical and, reasoning that the gentleman “had little concern for his safety and was a danger to himself and the public,” took him to the county jail.

Knoxville’s infatuation with controlled substances continued without letup on August 13, when officers were dispatched to a building in the 8100 block of Asheville Highway in response to a naked woman prancing about the parking lot. 

“Upon arrival, I made contact with a woman who was, indeed, naked,” reported Officer James Epperson. “She originally would not identify herself and upon my arrival, she had wrapped herself in a towel.”

The 23-year-old woman proceeded to explain that a nearby open garage was her “halfway home” and that a pile of leaves on the ground was, in fact, her clothing.

“The property she was on is a privately owned business and features wide open bay doors, where members of the public could clearly see her. Her pupils were dilated, she was sweating profusely and she was very excited in her speech and movements,” Epperson reported. 

She was taken to the county jail and informed that she was no longer welcome on the property.

No one knows what originally set this next guy off, but it seems a sure bet that “Anger Management” courses are a feature of his immediate future….

It was just after 7 p.m. on September 5 when officers were sent to the Wild Wing Cafe on East Emory Road to check out a disturbance involving a man who had just left the premises on foot. The responding officers easily found the suspect — a 33-year-old man — as he stumbled along the sidewalk, “screaming and throwing obscene hand gestures at the public.”

Officer Corey Metcalf finally made contact with the guy in a parking lot, at which point the man made it clear that he was in no mood to be polite to anyone, no matter what he had to lose.

“The arrestee took an offensive stance and told Officers that if they wanted to fight he would fight. The arrestee was determined to be a danger to himself and to others,” Metcalf said. 

Predictably enough, the officers were more than happy to accommodate the gentleman’s challenge, and he soon found himself trying in vain to break free from a set of restraints in the back seat of a police cruiser. 

Fast forward now to 7:26 p.m. on Sept. 20, and this one dude really wanted to play some poker at the Orange Hat Brewing Company at 10246 Hardin Valley Road. 

Truth be told, the 40-year-old dude in question probably wanted a great many things from life that he wasn’t getting. At the moment, though, what he wanted more than anything else in the whole world was for his fellow human beings to deal him into their poker tournament. But the callous souls inside the tavern (who apparently had the only extant deck of playing cards in the region on this night) had refused to let the lonely soul in on their game, so what possible recourse did the guy have but to stand outside on the bar’s patio and repeatedly slam himself into the front window?

Such was the situation as it presented itself to the officers who showed up to check out a reported “disturbance.” The officers “challenged him” to immediately stop throwing a temper tantrum and lay on the ground. For some reason, the man decided that his best option in this scenario was to, well, tease the officers by pretending to comply but, at the last moment, turning around to run. 

This plan worked out about as well as you can imagine. The dude petulantly refused to follow numerous commands, but the small group of officers was able to manhandle him into the back of the cruiser. He was then taken to the county jail, where (rumor has it) decks of playing cards abound but tolerance for loudmouths doesn’t.

Yet another wildly belligerent nitwit learned it doesn’t pay to lose one’s cool in public on September 20 near the Pilot in the 8500 block of Middlebrook Pike. 

At about 15 minutes ‘til 11 p.m., cops were dispatched to the store because a male was causing a disturbance. When Officer Gavin Egan arrived, a store employee told him that a customer had complained about a man across the street who was screaming profanities as well as threatening to shoot someone. 

Egan quickly located the 33-year-old man, who was indeed yelling into his cell phone at the top of his lungs while pacing back and forth on the sidewalk.

“The arrestee was loud and confrontational with officers and kept trying to walk away. The arrestee stated he threatened to assault another individual who passed him on the sidewalk,” Egan wrote in his report. “Officers made contact with (a witness), who stated he was walking along Middlebrook Pike when the arrestee became confrontational with him, got close to his face and began yelling at him.”

Between the guy’s attitude, the fact that he was causing a disturbance, and the existence of an outstanding arrest warrant charging him with a probation violation, Egan decided that “enough was enough” and made sure that, if the man wanted to keep screaming at people, he could do it while surrounded by his infinitely patient cellmates in the county lockup. 

The inebriated stupidity continued on September 26 at the Weigels store at 9729 Middebrook Pike.

Officers were dispatched to the store at 1:12 p.m. to speak with the manager, who had just dealt with an exceptionally thirsty customer. The patron, a 60-year-old man, had bought a pair of beers and then, in the middle of the store, drank them both down. He then grabbed more brews from the cooler, realized that he couldn’t pay for them, and proceeded to lock himself in the store’s bathroom with a single container of beer (his chosen brand was Miller, if you’re curious). He eventually emerged, sans beverage, and then tried to disappear by slipping out the front door and trotting into traffic.

He was captured moments later while trying (and apparently failing) to walk across Middlebrook Pike in the lunch hour rush. He confessed to drinking the beers in the store and added that he just “wanted to go home.” He was instead instructed to never return to the store before he was handcuffed and arrested for public intoxication.

About 10:15 p.m. Sept. 27, E-911 dispatchers sent Knox County officers to the area around Powell High School to look into reports they were getting about some unknown person yelling for help.

They soon found a 49-year-old man who was running just as fast as his legs could carry him behind the baseball field. When the officers convinced him to stop and explain why he was running around the school’s campus in the middle of the night, they noticed that he “had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person, blood shot watery eyes, and was unsteady on his feet.”

The man explained that “he was being chased by unknown people from the Days Inn Hotel.” There were no signs of people, known or unknown, on the man’s trail, but just to be safe the officers made sure the gentleman was tucked into the Scruffy City’s most secure overnight facility.

Tales of the Scruffy City is compiled from public records provided on request by the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and other government agencies. We do not identify the citizens who appear in these reports in order to protect their privacy. Many of those who appear in police reports are guilty of nothing more than having a bad day, while even those who are formally accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Tales of the Scruffy City is Copyright 2021 by Hard Knox Wire.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at

Published on November 9, 2021.