Man drives Santa’s Train while possibly under the influence of meth and narcotics during family Christmas event

News & Politics

A Tennessee man has been arrested and charged after he allegedly attempted to operate a vehicle in a family Christmas parade while under the influence.

At around 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, folks young and old gathered along Main Street in Tazewell, Tennessee, a town with a little over 2,000 residents about an hour northeast of Knoxville, for the Claiborne County Christmas Tractor Parade. However, as one writer put it, one participant may have gotten “a touch too into the holiday spirit.”

Just as the parade was about to begin, families started piling into the rear of Santa’s Train, basically a high-powered lawn mower with a few wagons in tow. However, those nearby noticed that the vehicle’s driver, later identified as 40-year-old Henry Meade, was behaving erratically and reported him to police.

Police then subjected Meade to a field sobriety test, but it didn’t get off to a promising start. On his way to comply with the test, he apparently tossed a prescription bottle at a cop.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, he then failed the sobriety test, compelling police to place him under arrest. He was charged with multiple intoxicant-related offenses, including driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine. Officers also reportedly found a syringe, meth, and other narcotics on his person.

A joint statement from Tazewell Mayor Bill Fannon and Chief of Police Jeremy Myers assured the community that everyone remained safe at all times during the day’s festivities. “[I]n a 1/8 mile radius on Main Street during the event,” the statement read in part, “we had 14 police officers on foot patrol for several thousands attendees. Public safety is paramount on any day at any time and this event was no different.”

The statement also noted that the city did not hire Meade or any of the other vendors associated with the Christmas parade. “[V]endor hiring is not under the city’s jurisdiction,” the statement added. “Vendors are independently contracted, and their selection is not managed by the city.”

There have been no reports of any injuries associated with Santa’s Train, the tractor parade, or any of the other Christmas events held in the area that day.

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