A pursuit by Sheriff's deputies early Friday morning ended with the vehicle being chased wrecking and getting submerged in water. The driver got out, but a female passenger drowned.
At approximately 1:16 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies were involved in a vehicle pursuit that started on Highway 60.
The pursuit was initiated after observing the suspect vehicle driving erratically leading a deputy to believe the driver was intoxicated.
After a deputy observed a blue Chevy driving erratically, the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop in the 7000 block of Highway 60. The suspect vehicle then fled and the deputy initiated a pursuit.
During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle traveled towards Rhea County and entered a boat ramp on Blythe Ferry Road. Preliminary information shows at the boat ramp the suspect vehicle turned around, came back towards the HCSO deputy, and then passed the deputy. The suspect vehicle then veered into the river off the side of the boat ramp causing the vehicle to flip upside down and become fully submerged in the river.
The suspect driver was taken into custody and notified deputies there was a passenger in the vehicle. HCSO deputies, along with deputies from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, immediately initiated rescue efforts by entering freezing waters but were forced to exit due to frigid temperatures. Once the vehicle was recovered, the passenger was located inside the vehicle deceased.
The suspect driver, Daniel Peak, 38, was taken into custody by HCSO deputies and is currently at the Hamilton County Jail on charges relative to traffic violations from the pursuit and narcotics violations.
Items recovered from the suspect vehicle included bags containing marijuana and crystal meth, multiple syringes, and tools consistent with auto burglary and catalytic converted thefts.
An investigation into the fatal crash is being conducted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.