Oneida, TN (2019-01-07) An Oneida man that reportedly attempted to stop the repossession of his vehicle by forcing a tow truck driver to stop is facing criminal charges. Authorities say the vehicle being repossessed came loose during the altercation and ended up in the ditch.
James L. Muse, 50, of Oneida is facing assault and vandalism charges after he allegedly attempted to prevent a creditor from repossessing his vehicle. According to an arrest warrant filed by Investigator Dustin Burke of the Oneida Police Department, Muse allegedly rammed the repo man’s tow truck, and then repeatedly crashed into the vehicle being towed until it came off the tow truck, flipped, and ended up in the ditch about a ½ mile from where the altercation began.
Authorities say the victim, a repossession agent for a creditor owed by Muse, had notified him that his vehicle was being repossessed. The victim told authorities that Muse appeared okay with the repossession when shown the paperwork, but later came out of the house demanding to see a warrant and refused to allow him to take the vehicle. When the tow truck driver took off from Muse’s Wright Lane residence, Muse allegedly chased him down Terry Road in a borrowed SUV.
The victim said Muse repeatedly tried to force him to stop by slamming into the side of his tow truck. Once he got in front of the tow truck, Muse allegedly stopped abruptly; resulting in the tow truck striking the rear of borrowed vehicle. Muse is then accused of repeatedly striking the vehicle being repossessed, causing the vehicle to break free from the tow truck. The vehicle reportedly flipped over and ended up in the ditch.
During the altercation, the victim contacted emergency dispatchers, who directed him to go to the Boys and Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, where officers would intercept them. The pair was met there by Sgt. Steve Trammell and Officer Tony Jones of the Oneida Police Department.
The victim told emergency responders that he feared for his life. Following the stop, the victim began experiencing chest pains and was transported to Big South Fork Medical Center for observation. Authorities say the victim had previously had two heart attacks.
Muse was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, careless driving and failure to exercise due care, vandalism of between $1,000 and $10,000 (three counts), and hindering a secured creditor.