Sullivan Co. Sheriff’s Office: Chuckey man facing charges after leaving small child in vehicle after Sunday crash


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Chuckey man has been charged with child neglect and several other charges after allegedly leaving a child in a vehicle following a crash.

According to a release from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a crash on John B. Dennis Highway near Moreland Drive Sunday afternoon.

Witnesses told deputies that the driver of a vehicle involved in the crash had fled the scene and left a “small child” in the vehicle.

SCSO reports the child, described as being four months old, was removed from the vehicle by employees of a construction company working nearby.

The release states the suspect was found by deputies inside a “mobile restroom” at the nearby construction site.

The suspect was identified as Johnny Thornburg, 28, of Chuckey, Tennessee.

Deputies report finding the following items in the vehicle when Thornburg was taken into custody:

  • 2 pistols
  • Cocaine
  • Crack cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Various prescription pills
  • Marijuana
  • Numerous items of paraphernalia

The release also states $1,271 in cash was also recovered.

SCSO reports the vehicle involved in the crash had been stolen in Indiana.

“The child was transported to a local medical facility to be checked following the wreck,” the release states. “The child’s mother responded to the hospital to be with the child and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services was also notified of the incident.”

Thornburg has been charged with the following:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Theft of Property (motor vehicles)
  • Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Possession of Schedule VI Narcotics for Resale
  • Schedule II, III, and IV Drug Violations
  • Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon
  • Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
  • Vehicle Registration Violation
  • Driving on Revoked License
  • Due Care
  • Duty to Give Info and Render Aid

As of Monday morning, Thornburg is still in the Sullivan County Jail and awaiting arraignment.

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