Officer describes surreal moments during suspicious fire and theft of police cruiser

Crime Tracker

KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. (WKRN) — The TBI and Cheatham County investigators have left the scene of a suspicious fire in Kingston Springs satisfied that nobody died and no bodies are in the rubble.

Investigator Ken Miller says the fire is suspicious and a cause is still being determined.

But after spending the better part of two days at the home in the 1200 block of Wax Wing Circle, investigators say there is no reason to believe that anyone was killed in the blaze.

Cadaver Dogs with the TBI did appear to hit on various spots inside the home on Tuesday, but investigators now tell News 2, the homeowner, Janet Givens says her mother’s ashes from a previous cremation were stored inside the house and the dogs may have been reacting to that.

Investigators also tell News 2, family members close to 64-year-old Givens, are all accounted for.

This investigation unfolded Tuesday morning before 5 a.m. That’s when a fire erupted and Kingston Springs Police Officers arrived.

One of the first officers on the scene is 11-year veteran Nate Palazzi.

Palazzi says he and his fellow officers have been to this home multiple times. Palazzi says he knows Givens as well.

The officer said he quickly found her in an adjacent driveway. Palazzi describes her as screaming, hysterical, and wearing only thin pajamas and standing in the snow in bare feet.

Palazzi says while putting Givens in the warm police car, he asked her if anyone else is inside the home, and she reportedly says, “My baby is in the house.”

Palazzi says he moved his vehicle to make way for arriving fire trucks.

The officer said that is when he noticed his partner’s vehicle also moving. He initially assumes his partner is also making room for arriving fire fighters. But when Palazzi sees his partner, now in firefighting turnout gear looking into the windows of the home, he knows that Givens has stolen the police cruiser.

Dashcam from the stolen car shows Givens driving over a mailbox to get around arriving firefighters. The dash cam also showed Givens lose control of the police car and when she slammed the bridge barrier, the dash camera goes black.

By this time, Palazzi is right behind Givens and his dashcam shows Givens losing control and crashing through the barrier. The vehicle strikes the ground engine first, then police say it rolled onto I-40 East blocking both lanes of traffic.

The car was destroyed, windows were shattered, and air bags deployed. Still, Givens survived the 30-foot drop.

“It was almost unbelievable. When it happened, I said did that really just happen? And I am so glad nobody else was hurt. The cars, anyone could have been driving under that bridge at the wrong time,” Palazzi tells News 2.

Palazzi said Givens has always been polite and kind to him in the past. Palazzi does not have answers for why she allegedly stole the police vehicle at the scene of a suspicious fire. He tells News 2 that he hopes that Givens gets the help she needs.

Additionally, Givens had surgery for unspecified injuries on Tuesday. Hospital officials list her in stable condition.

News 2 asked Givens for an interview Wednesday and she declined.

Det. Ken Miller says he spoke with her briefly in the hospital and she told him nobody was in the house fire.

According to Miller, Palazzi did not go into great detail about the fire or the police car theft which Miller says she will be charged with when she is released from the hospital.

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