A 20-year-old Palestine man whom authorities say was likely on “a bad drug trip” was arrested early Wednesday after allegedly breaking into two residences on CR 375 and claiming that people were after him.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Robert Lynn Estridge, 20, of Palestine remained in the Anderson County Jail, awaiting arraignment on charges of criminal trespassing (two counts); criminal mischief; deadly conduct; public intoxication; and disorderly conduct, according to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor.

Estridge was arrested shortly after midnight Wednesday by Anderson County sheriff's authorities after breaking into a residence on CR 375 and jumping in bed with the residence’s male occupant, Taylor said.

Estridge allegedly threw a metal porch chair through a window to gain entry at the second residence on CR 375, awakening the female occupant living there, according to the sheriff. The woman armed herself with a handgun and confronted the male subject later identified as Estridge whom authorities say was initially armed with a “small” knife, Taylor added.

“He (Estridge) throws the knife down and runs past her...and jumps in the bed with her husband,” Taylor said. “...She would have been within her rights to protect herself.”

Prior to this point, the male resident had not awakened, the sheriff stated.

“He’s (Estridge) flailing around, breaking stuff in the house,” Taylor said.

Anderson County Sheriff's Sgt. Charles Conner and deputy Larry Ward were summoned to the residence and arrested Estridge without use of force, according to the sheriff.

“They did not find any narcotics or contraband on him,” said Taylor, who commended his officers for diffusing a potentially tragic situation. “...We're unsure at this time why he was in that area.”

A short time earlier, Estridge also had broken a window to enter a nearby residence on CR 375, according to authorities. Occupants reported that the man was inside their house for approximately 10 minutes “running around in there, talking about people trying to get him,” Taylor said.

Estridge did not verbally threaten the occupants at either residence, but caused a total of approximately $800 in damage as the result of broken lamps, windows and other furnishings, the sheriff said.

Estridge is a known drug user with a history of burglary and other offenses. His behavior is believed to be a by-product of drug usage.

“It appears to us that he was on some type of narcotic,” Taylor said. “It's similar to the behavior we’ve seen in individuals on a bad meth trip.”

The sheriff said the county has had approximately five “similar cases” in the past two or three months during which individuals began displaying erratic behavior due to drug usage.

“It creates an extreme danger for the citizens of Anderson County, as well as our officers trying to arrest him (Estridge),” Taylor said. “The homeowner could have shot him. He could have injured the homeowners.”


Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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