Maury County prisoner trustee apologizes after stealing car, going on high-speed chase


A Maury County trustee allegedly stole a car and led law officers on a high-speed chase. The prisoner has now apologized for his actions. 

It happened last week after a Maury County trustee left his job at the solid waste facility and stole a car with the keys in the ignition. The prisoner, in jail on misdemeanor offenses, only had 64 days left on his sentence.  

Jessie Prater told News 2 he took rash action because of a family situation presented to him in a letter from his wife.  

“I got some family issues going on back at home, and I figured I could take care of them better out there than I could here,” said Prater. “I was really hurt by the letter, and it got to me, I couldn’t take no more.” 

The 27-year-old didn’t disclose what the letter said, but he claims it’s the reason he ran from his trustee job at the solid waste facility.  

“The keys were in the ignition. Something told me to get in the car and drive away so I got in the car and drove away.” 

Prater stole a 2005 Nissan. The car belongs to a long-time employee at the facility. 

The woman says she never leaves her keys in her car, but on this day, she says she was preoccupied with other things.  

Prater took the opportunity to apologize to the woman for taking her car.  

“I apologize for taking your car ma’am. I had intentions of bringing it back that very day, as soon as I got through taking care of the biz I needed to at home, but law enforcement stopped me before I had the opportunity to do that. ” 

Prater says he was heading home to Giles County, but Maury County deputies were quickly behind him when he got on the interstate. 

At one point, Prater says speeds reached over 100 mph.  

“I got on the interstate, as soon as I did, he got behind me, turned his lights on and the chase was on from there.” 

Prater says he realizes that he endangered other motorists, including himself and the deputy. 

“Yes sir, I do. and I am very sorry.” 

The pursuit lasts less than an hour. Prater says he pulled over and gave up uneventfully.  

The car owner told News 2 her car was on empty and the prisoner ran out of gas.  

Prater is now back behind bars with a lot to consider and many more charges than the misdemeanor offenses he was serving. 

When asked if he would reconsider his actions, Prater said he wouldn’t. He told News 2 everything happens for a reason and his time in jail is part of a grander purpose to get himself right with God.  

And to his wife who sent him that letter, he says this: 

“Kayla, I love you. Do the right thing, baby, take care of our kids. Liliana, Thomas, this is a prime example of how you don’t want to live your life. I love you all, wish you the best, hope to see you soon. Remember that. Daddy loves you.” 

Jessie Prater is now charged with serious felonies that include escape, auto theft, evading and reckless endangerment.

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