Unicoi Co. Sheriff: Johnson City man charged with aggravated assault after injuring deputy during chase


UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Unicoi County deputy was injured after a man rammed his patrol unit during a pursuit early Tuesday.

According to Unicoi County Sheriff Michael Hensley, the pursuit began just after midnight when deputies attempted to stop a DUI suspect who was weaving across lanes.

The suspect, identified as Jonathan Bulla, 22, of Johnson City, fled in the vehicle up to a dead end on Martin Creek.

According to Hensley, Deputy Anthony Buckner began to exit his patrol vehicle when Bulla rammed the unit. Buckner’s leg was pinned between the door and frame of the vehicle.

Bulla continued to flee back down Martin Creek before turning down Love Street, then turning on to Elm Street.

After crossing Main Street in Erwin, Bulla ran through the Erwin Post Office parking lot and jumped an embankment. The vehicle came to rest at the Erwin Police Department, according to Hensley.

Bulla exited the vehicle and a brief foot pursuit ended when Erwin PD officer Josh Ollis apprehended him and placed him under arrest.

Hensley says Bulla had “multiple outstanding felony warrants out of Carter County and warrants out of Washington County.”

According to Sheriff Hensley, Bulla is facing several charges, including:

  • Possession of Stolen Property
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Driving Without a License
  • Speeding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Leaving the scene of an Accident
  • DUI
  • Failure to Yield
  • Violation of Stop Sign
  • Failure to Maintain Lanes
  • Registration Violation
  • Due Care Law
  • Aggravated Assault on Officer (2 counts)

The vehicle was reported as stolen out of Johnson City, according to Hensley.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Bulla remains in the Unicoi County Jail on a $55,000 bond total. His charges in other counties amount to three different bonds that make up the $55,000.

The post says Deputy Buckner was checked by EMS and later drove himself to the hospital. Hensley told News Channel 11 that after receiving X-rays at the hospital, it was determined that Buckner’s leg was badly bruised but not broken.

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