A chilly swim across the Watauga River early Thursday morning to reportedly escape capture by police earned an Elizabethton man a trip to the emergency room for hypothermia and a dry jail uniform.
Thirty-year-old James Lynn Cox was charged with domestic assault, vandalism, reckless endangerment and reckless endangerment of a child by Carter County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Issac A. Rhea after police say he threatened and physically abused his girlfriend and her 12-year-old child shortly after 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
According to his report of the incident, Rhea stated that officers were called to a mobile home on Lovers Lane where Cox was reportedly pounding on the back door of his girlfriend’s home to convince her to let him in.
The girlfriend told police that as she was driving Cox from Valley Forge to her home, they got into an argument about his drinking, an activity she said he participated in before her arrival.
The girlfriend told police that he threatened to jump from the moving vehicle several times during the trip, and then violently twisted the steering wheel while she was driving and kicked out the windshield of her vehicle.
She told officers that when they arrived at the home, he dragged her through the trailer by her hair and twisted her child’s arm when the boy attempted to get between Cox and his mother.
Rhea stated when he arrived, he and other officers could not find him in the mobile home park, but he was later located by a city police officer on Ash Street, soggy from a swim across the Watauga River in the sub-freezing weather.
Cox was taken by ambulance to the Sycamore Shoals Hospital emergency room where he was treated for hypothermia and released and then arrested and transported to the Carter County Jail.
He is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Feb. 19 to answer the charges.