TBI, Cheatham County authorities investigate suspicious fire, stolen police car and death-defying crash

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CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The TBI has joined the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department as both agencies now investigate a suspicious house fire in Kingston Springs.

Around 4:45 Tuesday morning neighbors on Wax Wing Circle reported hearing loud explosions and flames leaping through the roof of a home in the cul-de-sac. Police arrived and found the homeowner, Janet Givens, outside the home. She was shivering and upset. One officer told News 2 she was almost unintelligible.

Kingston Springs public safety officers asked the 64-year-old if anyone was inside. According to Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department investigator Ken Miller, the distraught woman says, “yes, my baby!”

Officers placed the woman in a police car to stay warm as they began planning a rescue. That’s when officers said Givens got in the driver’s seat of the patrol car and drove off.

  • Janet Givens

Dashcam in officer Nate Palzzi’s car showed the moment the 64-year-old woman lost control of the stolen police car while crossing an icy overpass.

According to the officer, speeds were only around 30 miles-per-hour when the woman in the stolen police car hit black ice, lost control, and crashed through the barrier, plunging approximately 30 feet. The vehicle crashed and rolled into the Eastbound lanes of I-40.

A truck driver later told officers that he was only seconds from crossing into the falling vehicle’s path.

News 2 got a first-hand look at the police car at the public works department. The police SUV was demolished with the front end is smashed, the airbags deployed, and the glass shattered.

Investigators said Givens was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she underwent surgery. First responders described her injuries as non-life-threatening, but Vanderbilt has not listed her condition at this time.

Because of the intensity of the fire, and to be certain that nobody was trapped in the blaze, Cheatham County Investigators called TBI bomb and arson experts to assist. By 11 p.m., a trained dog was on the scene and going through the charred debris.

News 2 spoke to a neighbor who did not wish to share his name, but said there were frequent disturbances at the Givens residence.

“The first thing I heard was a huge boom,” the neighbor said. “I look out the window. Flames are shooting out the top of the roof. And before that, I hear what sounds like gunshots. And then I look out the window and Janet is in the culdesac yelling and screaming and they put her in the police cruiser and it takes off down the road followed closely by Kingston Springs Police. Like I said. I am not surprised by anything that happens over here anymore.”

Authorities have not yet clarified what the explosions were that the neighbor heard prior to the fire.

When Givens is released from the hospital she will go to jail. Authorities say she is facing serious charges that so far are related to evading and stealing the police car.

As of Tuesday afternoon, police had not found a body in the burned home after three trained dogs searched the house.

Kingston Springs Police tell News 2 they have responded to the Givens’ home multiple times in the past.

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