CARYVILLE - The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that what began as an early morning traffic stop in Caryville Saturday could have ended badly if not for quick action by a Washington County deputy.

The incident began as Deputy Curtis French stopped a vehicle at approximately 1:30 a.m. During the traffic stop, Deputy French became aware of a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, at which time the three occupants were instructed to exit the vehicle.

Willie Nettles, 55, of Caryville, began to flee on foot, attempting to elude the deputy. Deputy French soon caught Nettles in a nearby wooded area and tackled him. Once on the ground, Nettles attempted to pull Deputy French’s firearm from the holster, but Deputy French’s actions prevented Nettles from removing his weapon. The deputy quickly overpowering Nettles and placed him in handcuffs.

During the investigation, Deputy French located a “crack pipe” and the magazine to his firearm on the ground.

Three bags of suspected crack cocaine were also located nearby.

EMS was dispatched and responded to the scene, where Nettles received medical treatment for injuries sustained in the altercation. Nettles was arrested and charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting officer with violence, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Additional charges are expected, pending further investigation.

“Our deputies are faced with split second life or death situations every day," said Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews. Their continuous training and preparation is what keeps them alive,” states Sheriff Kevin Crews. “The public we serve expects us to keep the bad guys out of our homes, our cars and our local businesses, and we work diligently in making sure that is done in the safest way possible.”

Anyone with any tips, or knowledge of crimes being committed is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 850-638-6111. Tips may also be reported anonymously by calling 850-638-TIPS (8477) or by emailing: