Abraham Mahshie – Contributing Writer
The suspicious travel route of a blue Jeep Cherokee caught Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Bean’s attention July 2 before he decided to follow, according to an incident report.
When he first saw the vehicle, it was turning left onto Bellevue Road. Deputy Bean traveled straight through the intersection onto Bellevue Road to follow the Jeep, but it quickly disappeared as he approached Highlands Road.
He turned left onto Bellevue Park Road to see if he could find it in a residential area, then spotted the Jeep traveling down the hill on Bellevue Road from behind Sleep USA. He followed. Looking closely at the vehicle, he noticed a passenger brake light not working. When the Jeep turned right on Highlands Rd., Deputy Bean pulled it over for a brake light violation.
The driver, Nathan Prevette, 42, was asked about the suspicious travel route. His passenger was Stephanie Diane Evans, 33, both of Franklin.
Couldn’t the officer smell that the engine was overheating, Prevette asked the officer. He had to stop.
Deputy Bean smelled burning oil but not antifreeze. He gathered Prevette’s driver’s license and returned to his patrol car to check for outstanding warrants. He found a warrant for a hit-and-run out of Surry County and returned to the vehicle to make the arrest.
Shortly after making the arrest, Deputy David Blanton arrived with a K9, which detected something of interest in the driver seat area. After a search, only a hypodermic needle was found in the rear passenger seat area.
Officer Randy Dula, who had arrived from the Franklin Police Department and was helping with the search, raised the hood of the vehicle and noticed the air intake cover disconnected at the base.
He lifted the air intake cover and found a black sunglass case containing a large clear Ziploc bag with a crystal-like substance tied in a knot, a silver digital scale, metal spoon, two hypodermic needles, a glass jar with marijuana and a plastic container with black tape around the outside. Inside the plastic container were two small clear Ziploc baggies containing a crystal-like substance.
Evans was then detained as well, and the small bags were weighed. They contained 24.4 g, 8.8 g and 1.6 g of a substance that appeared to be methamphetamine.
Prevette and Evans were charged with trafficking methamphetamine, marijuana possession, marijuana paraphernalia possession and drug paraphernalia possession and secured on a $600,000 bond.