Two teenagers, one dangling from a rope tied to an interstate bridge and holding a can of spray paint, did not see Sheriff's Deputy Melissa Myers when she drove up. They never got a chance to express their love with graffiti.
"I don't know what they were thinking," said Myers, a deputy in McMinn County between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Myers said she drove up behind 18-year-olds Michael Clark and Matthew Musnicki after someone reported a suspicious person leaning on the rail of a bridge on Interstate 75.
"Matthew was going to write his name, 'loves' and then the girl's name" and Clark was going to do the same with a girl's name on the other side, Myers said.
The deputy arrested them both on Sunday. She said she took photos and a short video with her cell phone because the incident sounded too strange to be true.
Myers said when she arrived, Clark was standing at the railing holding the rope with his friend dangling below. She told Clark to put his hands up, but he said he couldn't let go of the rope.
She said Musnicki tossed the can of red spray paint and tried to escape, but got tangled in the rope. She put Clark in her car and drove around to the road below, arresting Musnicki after he was helped down by a passer-by with a ladder.
She said the interstate bridge is "covered with graffiti already."
Myers said the judge hopefully "is going to be fed up with all the vandalism. We have even had an Athens city patrol car spray painted. All the buildings in the city have been spray painted."
Both teens were charged with graffiti on government property and reckless endangerment. Both were released on $1,500 bonds Sunday pending April 18 court hearings. Phone numbers for the teens listed on the police report were disconnected.