A recent three-car crash on a Knox County roadway left one person dead and several adults and children injured. One driver is facing charges that include aggravated vehicular homicide. Responders had to close down the John Sevier Highway in the area of Austin Park Lane for hours as they extricated patients and investigators sought to determine what happened that evening. Though road conditions weren't specified, the initial police report indicates that the driver who allegedly caused the crash may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, had drug paraphernalia with him, and his driver's license had been revoked.
Everyone involved in the car accident was hurt; one young child's injuries were reportedly critical. The driver facing charges, a 49-year-old resident of Sevierville, is said to have crossed into the eastbound lane while going westbound and hit an oncoming SUV. The SUV was operated by a 38-year-old resident of Knoxville, who had his two children in the car with him. He died on scene from his injuries. The SUV spun out of control and hit a van behind it, driven by a 49-year-old resident of Greeneville and carrying two adult passengers.
The report indicates that witnesses observed the accused driver swerving before he drove into the oncoming lane. Responders say they arrived on scene to find him urinating in the road, injured but ambulatory. He apparently has previous DUI convictions -- which is reportedly why his license was revoked -- and officers say that he told them that he was on pain medications. They suspect the driver had also been drinking alcohol.
With formal charges filed, this case will proceed to criminal court. Aggravated vehicular homicide is the most serious of the charges, and the burden will now fall upon Tennessee prosecutors to prove the accusations that have been formally made. The accused driver faces difficult months ahead, but he is, under the law, innocent until -- and only if -- the prosecution is able to meet its stringent burden of proof in court by competent and relevant evidence. His rights are protected by the judicial system, and he is entitled to legal defense and a fair trial.
Source: themountainpress.com, Sevierville man charged in fatal wreck, Jeff Farrell, Aug. 28, 2013