Melissa Chance

A Dayton woman is facing a variety of drug charges after deputies with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department allege she was driving a “red mail jeep” while under the influence.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, Rhea County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Charlie Jenkins responded to reports a vehicle driving erratically on Highway 60, crossing the centerline into oncoming traffic.

“I found the driver of a red mail Jeep to be Melissa Chance, and the vehicle was registered to Ms. Chance,” Jenkins said. “I asked Ms. Chance if she had taken any medication that would make her drive out of the lane of travel, as I could see several pill bottles in her open purse and several white, oval shaped pills in the cup holder, identified later as acetaminophen 500mg. There was undelivered mail laying in the floor of the vehicle as well.”

Jenkins said that Chance’s speech was slurred, and when he asked her to step out of the vehicle, she was unsteady on her feet.

Upon searching the vehicle, Jenkins said he found a variety of pills, and Chance claimed she had a prescription for the medication and could show investigators.

Deputies took Chance to a Dayton residence where Chance was living. The owner of he residence told investigators that Chance was staying at the residence for free and gave investigators permission to search the house, Jenkins said.

“There were several different pills found in different locations of [Chance’s] bedroom like in the closet, under the bed, on the night stand and on the floor,” Jenkins said. “There was several cut straws found that Ms. Chance stated she used for snorting, a set of scales and several used small baggies.”

Jenkins said he also found stacks of unopened mail and packages as well.

“Ms. Chance stated that she opens the packages and takes the pills and that she knew the ones to open because the controlled substance pills require a signature and that due to COVID, a signature is no long required,” Jenkins said. “There were several opened Christmas cards and thank you cards with the card still there; several gift cards were found in the room.”

Jenkins said that upon investigation, he found nearly 175 pieces of unopened mail and 100 pieces of opened mail that contained things such as bank statements and cards.

Chance was arrested and booked into the Rhea County Jail and charged with possession of a Schedule II, Schedule IV and Schedule V controlled, as well as driving under the influence of an intoxicant, violation of the implied consent law, theft of property worth more than $1,000 and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to jail records, no bond has been set, and she was still incarcerated as of press time Friday.