COVINGTON — It’s not against the law to paint yourself purple — unless you show up on the side of the Interstate and distract other drivers.
Deputies with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office were called around 7:15 a.m. Monday to I-20 eastbound between the Almon Road and Covington exits when passersby began calling 911 dispatch saying a woman covered in purple paint was running into traffic, throwing things into the Interstate and one caller said she was laying down in the middle of the first lane.
Arrested and charged with disorderly conduct was Jennifer Lainhart, 31, of 402 North D St. in Lenoir City, Tenn., who was described as having “her whole body painted purple.”
“When deputies arrived they discovered she had thrown a suitcase and a car seat into the middle of the Interstate,” said NCSO Public Information Officer Deputy Cortney Morrison. “When they began talking to her and asking her the reason she was painted purple, she said it was to conceal her identity.”
Morrison said as the questioning continued, she became very upset and lay down in the west grass at mile marker 89. As deputies attempted to handcuff her, she began yelling expletives at them, but once the patrol car door was opened, she got in without incident.
Morrison said deputies found no evidence that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Morrison said the woman was traveling alone, but because there were child safety seats in her car, deputies took the extra step of finding out where her children were.
“We did follow up because of the car seats. We discovered her children were in the custody and care of family members who live elsewhere,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the woman was arrested for her own safety and that of other drivers.
“The deputies arrested her for disorderly conduct for putting drivers on the Interstate in fear of hurting themselves and others,” Morrison said. “They picked up her belongings that were thrown onto the Interstate and her vehicle was removed by a local towing company.”
In other crime news, two women got into a wrestling match during a wedding celebration at Under the Stars Banquet Hall in Oxford Saturday night.
Deputies were summoned to the parking lot of the facility around 7:45 p.m. with reports of people fighting.
“When deputies arrived they observed multiple people outside the banquet hall trying to calm down one of the party’s involved,” Morrison said.
Lakeshia Edmondson, 21, of 25 Hardwood Drive and Chelini Denise Maddox, 51, of 148 Howard St., Atlanta, were both arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the incident.
According to Morrison, Edmondson claimed that Maddox accused her of stealing something from one of the vehicles. An argument ensued, but what started as a verbal dispute became a physical altercation with the women pulling and tugging on each other.
“No punches were thrown, but both were equally combative toward each other,” Morrison said.
Also, a driver working on the road construction going on at Almon and Crowell roads was slightly injured Tuesday morning when the dump truck he was driving overturned about 8 a.m.
“He was backing up into soft sand to unload and when the truck unloaded, the weight distribution was off and it flipped over on the driver’s side,” Morrison said.
The driver was transported by ground ambulance to Newton Medical Center.