Law Enforcement Asks for Public Assistance

UPDATE: Suspect taken into custody Tuesday by law enforcement in Putnam County

On June 30m at approximately 6:15 a.m. while on patrol in Smith County at the Buffalo Valley Rest Area on I-40, Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Troopers were investigating a suspicious vehicle parked at the rest area. A trooper approached the vehicle and observed a male and female sleeping inside the vehicle. During the investigation, the trooper confirmed by a V.I.N. check that the vehicle was stolen. 

The trooper instructed the occupants out of the vehicle and detained them with handcuffs behind their backs. The female occupant was identified as Karen Vallie, 42 years of age, from Montana. The male occupant provided the trooper with a fraudulent name and social security number. The male was eventually identified as Charles D. Lawson, 55 years of age, from Tennessee.

Mr. Lawson was secured in a THP patrol vehicle. As the troopers inventoried the stolen vehicle’s contents and interviewed Ms. Vallie, Mr. Lawson gained control of the trooper’s patrol vehicle and fled the scene. Mr. Lawson soon after crashed the stolen THP patrol vehicle in Putnam County around Tucker Ridge Road. All of the trooper’s weapons were secured and accounted for within the patrol vehicle. There were no weapons taken from the vehicle.

If you spot Mr. Lawson do not approach him, instead we ask that you dial 911 immediately. THP Aviation and numerous K-9 Units are in the area attempting to locate Mr. Lawson. This incident remains under investigation.