2 charged in traffic stop after allegedly crashing stolen car containing drugs through church gate

Michael Chappell and Makayla Diamonte
Michael Chappell and Makayla Diamonte(Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 8:36 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two people have been charged after they allegedly crashed a stolen car containing drugs through a church gate during a traffic stop Wednesday.

According to court documents, 31-year-old Michael Chappell and 22-year-old Makayla Diamonte were driving a stolen Toyota when they were pulled over by Shelby County deputies at Saint Stephen Baptist Church off Singleton Parkway.

Around 1 a.m., officers witnessed the vehicle driving eastbound on Egypt Central Road with a passenger tail light out and a registration that expired in April 2021.

Deputies pulled the Toyota over into the driveway of the church.

During the stop, deputies say they saw the front passenger, later identified as Chappell, reach beneath his seat.

The officers commanded both suspects to put their hands up.

The driver, later identified as Diamonte, complied, but Chappell reportedly did not.

He then began to scream “Go!” numerous times to Diamonte. When she did not, he reached his left foot over and stepped on the accelerator.

While revving the engine, Chappell allegedly put the car in drive and drove into the church’s gate.

He then put the car into reverse, accelerating toward one of the deputies on the scene, barely missing her, court documents say.

The vehicle then ran into a ditch toward the front of the church.

Chappell and Diamonte were both detained without incident.

While on the scene, deputies were notified via dispatch that the suspects’ Toyota had been reported stolen out of Memphis earlier in the day.

Inside the car, deputies recovered a needle, a single 9mm bullet, a black grinder, a black torch, and a glass pipe in Diamonte’s purse.

Officers also found promethazine pills, fentanyl, meth, and Xanax pills.

Diamonte is charged with property theft, two counts of possession of a legend drug without a prescription, three counts of drug possession, four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of financial law, violation of light law, having no driver’s license, and violation of vehicle registration law.

She was released on her own recognizance Thursday and is due in court Friday.

Chappell is charged with aggravated assault, assault on a first responder, property theft, vandalism, two counts of possession of a legend drug without a prescription, three counts of drug possession, and four counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is being held on an $80,000 bond and is due in court Friday.

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