Suspect charged in Knox County soccer complex vandalism

WATE 6 On Your Side staff - KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Sheriff's Office arrested a man suspected of using his car to vandalize the U.S. Cellular Sports Complex in West Knoxville on Tuesday night.

Ismael C. Juan, 26, was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, driving with no car insurance and vandalism. Witnesses said Juan was attempting to drive his 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse onto the complex's soccer fields at around 8:00 p.m. He was later seen spinning out for several minutes in the parking lot before he lost control and crashed his car into one the metal gates.

Witnesses said Juan and a passenger were able to free the car from the gate. Knox County Sheriff's Office said they pulled Juan over at the intersection of Lovell View Drive and Yarnell Road moments later.

The deputy noted several open beer cans, according to the arrest report. The 25-year-old passenger also had a right arm injury which he stated he obtained while in Juan's car when it struck a gate. He was taken to Park West Medical Center.

"Knox County Parks and Recreation facilities are maintained at public expense, and it's a shame when grown men do stupid things that cost taxpayers money," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "I appreciate the witnesses that came forward to provide information about this matter to our Sheriff's deputies. Our Parks and Recreation staff will work with the Knox County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney General's Office in the prosecution of this case."

This is the second act of vandalism at the sports complex. In mid-March, someone drove onto the several fields and ruined the turf.

Knox County Parks and Recreation had to purchase a new $3,400 gate after the incident in March. The department said they are looking at how much damage was caused by Tuesday night's incident. It is estimated to cost more than $1,500.

It is not known at this time if the incidents are related. The sheriff's office still investigating.


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