Knox deputies track down carjacking, drug suspect

Knox deputies track down carjacking, drug suspect

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The car was later found in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant on Western Avenue. The car was later found in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant on Western Avenue.
James Blance (Knox County Sheriff's Office) James Blance (Knox County Sheriff's Office)
Stephanie Key (Knox County Sheriff's Office) Stephanie Key (Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The man suspected of stealing an SUV at a traffic light and wanted on several drug-related charges was tracked down Wednesday afternoon after fleeing from deputies the previous day.

Knox County sheriff's deputies arrested 28-year-old James Edward Blance of Knoxville around 3:30 p.m.

Blance was riding in a car with two other men. Officers pulled the car over at Texas and Western Avenue and Blance was taken into custody without incident.

The manhunt for Blance began before 3:00 p.m. Tuesday when Blance, who had been riding in a car that had been stopped by officers, jumped in a silver SUV and took off. 

The car was later found in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant on Western Avenue.

Officials initially thought the suspect was Blance's younger brother, because he gave officers that name during the incident.

Blance was wanted on four warrants, including evading arrest; theft; manufacture, sale and delivery of a Schedule VI drug; and manufacture, sale and delivery of cocaine with a weapon. 

The woman driving the car Blance was first pulled over in, 23-year-old Stephanie Key, of Knoxville, was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding. 

She was being held under a $1,000 bond, but after a court appearance on Wednesday is expected to be released from jail later in the day.

The man who was driving when Blance was taken into custody, Marvin Kelly, 30, was also arrested and will be charged with sale and delivery of drugs and simple drug possession.

A third man in Kelly's car was not charged.

Blance had a previous criminal history in Knox County that involved evading arrest, reckless driving, drug charges, and aggravated robbery.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information to call (865) 215-2243.

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