Misty Lynn Hatfield, Dustin Lynn Brown
Grainger County rescue crews locate submerged SUV in Holston River. 2/6/12
Grainger Co. rescue crews work to locate car in water near Blaine. 02/06/12
County rescue crews locate submerged SUV in Holston River. 2/6/12
The Grainger County Sheriff says the pair who ended up driving their car into the Holston River had been doing drugs prior to the accident and were alone in the vehicle.
Sheriff Scott Layel says interviews in Knoxville lead them to determine that 33-year-old Misty Lynn Hatfield of Sharps Chapel and 30-year-old Dustin Lynn Brown had visited a Knoxville motel and had intravenouosly used methamphetamine.
Sheriff Layell says the duo thought they were headed to a home in Union County but instead traveled to Grainger County and onto Mitchell Bend Road, through a cornfield, a thicket and into the Holston River.
The Sheriff says the pair escaped through a window, swam to shore and went to a nearby farmhouse to request help. A number of agencies helped Grainger County to search for possible other passengers in the car including: Knox County Aviation, Grainger County Rescue Squard and Blaine Volunteer Fire Department.
Detectives are awaiting toxicology results on Hatfield and Brown and say the case will be remanded to the District Attorney's office.
Investigators with the Grainger County Sheriff's Office continue to try to piece together what happened to a man and a woman who ended up in the Holston River early Monday morning.
Sheriff Scott Layell says the SUV ran off the road and into the water before 3 am this morning. Two people, Misty Lynn Hatfield, 33, of Sharps Chapel, and Dustin Lynn Brown, 30, of Luttrell, made it out of the SUV and walked about a mile to a barn, where a farmer called for help.
When deputies arrived, the sheriff says the two were confused and disoriented, and claimed two other people were in the SUV with them.
While the crash victims were sent to UT Medical Center for treatment of hypothermia, search crews checked the land around the river while a Knox County Sheriff's Office helicopter searched from the air. When the SUV was finally spotted and pulled out, there was no one inside.
Hatfield and Brown were released from the hospital and brought back to the scene of the accident, where they were questioned further. Sheriff Scott Layel says they offered "conflicting and somewhat confusing" details about what happened before the crash.
This afternoon, the helicopter used infrared scanning technology for several hours, but never located any bodies or another vehicle.
"This investigation has taken some strange twists. I can't say that I have encountered anything like this in my 25 years of experience in law enforcement. The possible use of an undetermined hypnotic narcotic and its effect on these individuals has led us to many avenues and many dead ends, unfortunately," says Sheriff Layel.
Layel says, at this point, they have no evidence that anyone else was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. They've accounted for everyone that the two crash victims have mentioned, and are now working to put together a timeline of their last 24 hours, using cell phone records and surveillance video.
Layel says Hatfield's and Brown's memories are "a total blank after Saturday afternoon." Detectives genuinely believe the two have no idea how they got in the river.
The two are charged with leaving the scene of an accident, public intoxication, criminal trespass by motor vehicle and failure to report a crash.
Investigators are still trying to determine if there are two people missing in the Holston River, near Mitchell Bend Rd. in Blaine.
Around 3 am Monday morning, a man and woman said they were driving around in a corn field when they ran into the river. They got out of the water and walked about a mile to a barn, where a farmer was working.
When investigators arrived, Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel said the couple was incoherent, but told deputies that two other people were in the SUV with them when they went into the water.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office helicopter joined the search efforts, and spotted the submerged SUV about 200 yards from the bank. When it was pulled from the river, it was empty.
The man and woman in the SUV were taken to UT Medical Center to be treated for hypothermia, but were later brought back to the scene. They were handcuffed, and questioned again.
Sheriff Layel said it this point, they have not started a search in the water, but will start dragging the river if they confirm two other people were in the vehicle.
Update 10:20 a.m.
Officials will be questioning a man and woman who claim they and two other people drove into the Holston River early Monday morning according to the Grainger County Sheriff.
The couple who are described as being in their 30's were released from UT Medical Center where they were treated for hypothermia.
Hours earlier they had knocked on a farmhouse door saying they had escaped a submerged SUV that contained two other people.
When the SUV was pulled out of the river, no one was inside.
Stay with 10News for more on this developing story.
Update 9:42 a.m.
The 10News crew on scene of a submerged SUV says no one was in the vehicle when rescue crews pulled it out of the Holston River.
Update 9:04 a.m.
Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel tells 10News crews have located a SUV in the Holston River they have been searching for since 3:00 a.m. Monday morning.
Authorities say two people made their way to a farmhouse early Monday morning. They told the residents their SUV was in the river along with two other people. Authorities say the two were hard to understand.
At the time of this posting, crews are pulling the vehicle out of the water. A Knox County helicopter spotted it 200 yards from where the vehicle went into the river.
The two people who made their way to the farmhouse were taken to UT Medical Center. It is not known why they are being treated.
It is still unknown if the other two the accident victims spoke of are still in the SUV in the river.
10News has a crew on scene. Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more information as it becomes available.
According to the Grainger County dispatchers, the Grainger County Sheriff's Office, Grainger County Rescue Squad, and the Blaine Fire Department are currently conducting a water search for accident victims at the end of Mitchell Bend Rd.
Emergency dispatch first learned of the accident just after 3:00 a.m.
10News has a crew en route. Stay with 10News for more on this developing story.