Cows gone wild, Triple Crown of drunkery


Triple Crown of drunken idiocy 

One DUI should be enough for anyone of normal appetites, right? Two or more is just greedy, or gluttonous, or something else equal parts infuriating and pathetic.

Deputy Dennis Sosville Knox County Sheriff’s Office found himself with having manage a 5’4”, 180 pounds of stubborn, drunken brunette when he pulled over a Chrysler sedan about 10 p.m. Feb. 20.

The young lady was trying — and failing — to drive eastbound on Emory Road. She finally made an abrupt right turn onto Clinton Highway after pulling into the left hand turn lane, prompting Sosville to light her up. 

It turned out that her driver’s license had been revoked the preceding year for DUI and she was supposed to have an ignition interlock device installed in her car. This was already enough to place her under arrest, but when she got out of the car Sosville said she pretty much reeked of booze. Also, it didn’t take him long to find a half-empty bottle of tequila in the vehicle behind her.

“Upon being asked where she was coming from, the suspect stated that the suspect had just left a bar in West Knoxville,” Sosville wrote in the report.

It’s not like the young lady had any chance of getting out of this mess by now, and probably hadn’t since her third shot of tequila. Also, we’ve established that her decision-making skills weren’t exactly firing at full throttle. So, it probably made all the subjective sense in the world for her to refuse to perform a field sobriety test. 

Fair enough, at least so far. Performing tricks like a trained seal for a heavily armed stranger  in the middle of the night can be intimidating for completely sober people. But she also refused to let the police collect a blood alcohol sample, apparently forgetting that she and every other driver in Tennessee had already given them permission to do exactly that as a condition for allowing her to drive in the first place.

Predictably enough, Sosville proceeded to get a search warrant for a blood sample when they got the county jail. Which means the only thing the young lady accomplished was to rack up three charges instead of two: driving on a revoked license, 2nd offense DUI, and violating the implied consent law.

That’s right. This barfly-in-training had won the Triple Crown of Drunken Dumbassery, with the accompanying prize of a mandatory minimum 45 days in jail. 

Arrest me, please

Sometimes arresting the bad guys is difficult, dangerous work. There are cases that require millions of dollars and thousands of man hours just to ascertain that a crime has even been committed, much less to identify suspects and successfully prosecute them. Other times, the police risk life and limb capturing desperate suspects who’ll do anything to avoid being locked up behind bars.

And then there’s the registered sex offender who basically arrested himself on the morning of Feb. 24 at 1426 Elm Street.

It’s not like the man was ignorant of the threat posed to guys like him by law enforcement representatives of any type. The subsequent police reports yielded very little information about him except (a) he was 38 years old and (b) a convicted felon who had yet to finish paying off his debt to society.

Which is, of course, why he was at the Elm Street address for a 9 a.m. appointment. That particular brick building, you see, is home to Knoxville’s branch of the state’s Board of Probation & Parole, which means it probably contains more cops per square foot of floor space than any structure in town that doesn’t have the words “police department” in its name. And, since probationers and parolees have pretty much lost their right to not be searched without probable cause, the building on Elm Street was a profoundly stupid place to bring contraband.

You know where this is going….

A few minutes after arriving for his chat with his probation/parole officer about allegedly failing to adhere to the rules that sex offenders are required to follow, a Knox County sheriff’s deputy was summoned to the scene to transport the guy to jail. You see, that’s what normally happens when someone gets caught red-handed with not one but two small baggies containing 1.5 grams of heroin tucked into their wallet.

Interestingly, jail records contain no reference to any criminal charges related to the heroin. Of course, those same jail records did include no less than 15 felony charges of violating the rules while he was both a sex offender and on probation. 

You know you’re screwed when your probation officer apparently decides to overlook the fact that you brought a half-dozen doses of smack into his office because, well, there just doesn’t seem to be much of a point because of all the other trouble you’re in.

Cows gone wild 

Cows aren’t the most intelligent of creatures to be found in the depths of an East Tennessee night, and the circumstances that had led to this small herd’s freedom were especially murky. Not that they cared how they got to this place beyond the wire. They were here now, and that’s all that mattered. Vague memories of fleeing their enclosure in the night had faded quickly from their bovine minds; their attention was now focused on the grass they had found on the other side. 

The grass was so very, very green and so very, very sweet. Almost intoxicating. A shiver of pleasure seemed to pass through the entire herd, erupting here and there in the form of solitary “moos” that were swept away by the breeze. Overhead a full moon painted the soil and foliage the same silver tones that had inspired countless lovers’ trysts and lines of reckless verse, but cows aren’t prone to the same romantic inducements as the so-called “higher” mammals.

They draw inspiration from older, more animalistic sources. 

The herd flowed from the field as though it were a single organism, following the river of moon-drenched grass. They moved as though driven by a single purpose, utterly unintelligible to primates ….but irresistible to the bovine heart. A scent on the wind, a trilling in the air, a whisper in the ground, it pulled the herd farther into the woods and farther into their own collective past. 

Deep in their genes were secrets, as there are secrets buried deep in all bloodlines. Memories of a time when cows were not obedient, domesticated pets who chewed cud and gave away their milk and finally their very flesh and who recalled nothing but a defeated existence. Tonight, their hidden race memories were awakened and the herd stomped angrily, crushing the grass beneath their hooves, ashamed by their enslavement as the call of the wild surged through their veins. They felt what their common ancestor had felt thousands of generations before, when the Earth and all of its inhabitants were darker, more primal. 

The spirit of the Ur-Cow moved through the trees, and the forest trembled.

And then….Light.

O! Dreaded light!

White, biting light painfully crushed the shadows. Unable to look away, the herd turned its eyes to the blazing pale circle that appeared before them as an all-too familiar rumble shook the ground. The spirit of their ancient progenitor, enraged at coming so close to wielding the herd as an instrument of vengeance, was helpless to avoid dissipating as millennia upon millennia of conditioning reasserted itself. The voices of Man echoed in the clearing as the pink primates encircled the herd and drove them onto their waiting trucks. The men laughed and joked at the spectacle of all those cows shuffling aimlessly in the clearing, silent, even serious looking….

A new enclosure soon awaited them at a farm on Tompat Way, just south of Asheville Highway. Their owner, frantically awakening to a busted fence and a mess of missing cows, put the word out to Strawberry Plains’ small community of cattle owners and was soon rewarded with a call from a Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputy. He knew of the cows who’d been found wandering wild in the woods, and he let the farmer who’d recaptured them know their rightful owner had been found.  

The deputy arranged for the return of the herd and then entered both farmers into something called the Livestock Mapping System. He then filled out a report, dated Feb. 20, in which he described a “livestock at large” incident that bears little resemblance to the narrative related above. 

He knew nothing of the secrets that moonlight can summon in a forest clearing, or why he’d shuddered when he’d checked on the herd and caught one of the cows, well, staring at him. For a moment his inner hominid had wanted to shriek with fear, but the moment passed and was soon forgotten by man and cow alike with nary a “moo” on the wind to mark its passing from the world.

(With apologies to T.E.D. Klein and Knoxville Stockyard Auction)

Tales of the Scruffy City is compiled from public records provided on request by the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and other government agencies. We do not identify the citizens who appear in these reports in order to protect their privacy. Many of those who appear in police reports are guilty of nothing more than having a bad day, while even those who are formally accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Tales of the Scruffy City is Copyright 2021 by Hard Knox Wire.

J.J. Stambaugh may be reached at 

Published on March 17, 2021