A man who claimed to be running from the law because he was being held hostage at gunpoint, and then threatened to kill the family of the arresting deputy, has been ordered to serve one year in jail of a four-year sentence.
Westley Gage Cope, 28, was handed the sentence Wednesday in Circuit Court after entering guilty pleas to charges of evading arrest with risk of death or injury, possession of meth, and retaliation for past actions.
The incident occurred July 3, 2020 when Warren County deputies responded to Long Mountain Road to assist Sequatchie County deputies in pursuit of a blue Chevy truck. When local deputies made contact with the blue truck, it sped away and turned onto Highway 8 heading inbound toward McMinnville.
With a deputy in pursuit, the pickup was observed entering the oncoming lane of traffic several times while traveling at high speeds. The truck then left the road to the left and came to rest in a tree line an estimated 30 yards from Highway 8.
“The driver of the vehicle then exited the driver’s side of the vehicle and fled on foot, ignoring verbal commands to stop and show his hands,” the arrest warrant says.
When Cope was located after a short search he told deputies he was made to run against his will.
“He was stating there was another subject with him and that subject had held Westley at gunpoint to make him evade,” the arrest warrant says. “A search of the area by deputies resulted in not finding another subject in the area.”
Cope went on to claim he had picked up a male subject on the side of Highway 8 and that subject pointed a gun at him and told him to evade when a Sequatchie County deputy tried to stop him.
“Upon inspection of the blue Chevrolet, deputies discovered the passenger door was locked and was unable to open due to being pressed against vegetation,” the warrant says.
In addition, Cope was the only person observed by deputies to be in the vehicle or seen leaving the vehicle.
While in transit to Warren County Jail, Cope reportedly told the deputy, “I would like to get you into these handcuffs.” He also reportedly said, “Once I get out of these handcuffs and free, I will take care of you and your family.”
A search of the pickup revealed a bag containing approximately 130 grams of a crystal-like substance believed to be meth. There was other paraphernalia, including syringes, found in the vehicle, the arrest report says.