Note: This story was updated at 2:35 p.m. Jan. 25.
A 72-year-old Oak Ridge man has been charged with reckless aggravated assault after he allegedly drove at high speed in a pickup truck on a residential street, ignored a stop sign, and collided with a sport utility vehicle, causing it to roll and seriously injuring two people inside, authorities said.
Matthew R. Gibson, of South Purdue Avenue, was also cited for not having his driver’s license and for a stop sign violation.
His bond on the reckless aggravated assault charge was set at $20,000, and he remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Sunday morning.
The two-vehicle crash was reported at about 2:45 p.m. Saturday, January 16, at the intersection of Manhattan and North Purdue avenues in the Woodland neighborhood, behind Food City.
Gibson was headed north on North Purdue Avenue in a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck, while the other vehicle, a GMC Envoy SUV, was headed west on Manhattan Avenue, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Brandan Sharp said in an arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. There is a stop sign on North Purdue Avenue, and the Envoy had the right of way, Sharp said.
There were no skid marks on the pavement where Gibson had been traveling, Sharp said.
“Based on the evidence at the scene and drivers’ statements, the affiant (Sharp) reasonably believes the defendant was driving in a reckless manner by traveling at a high rate of speed and disregarding the stop sign, as he entered into the Manhattan Avenue intersection,” the warrant said. “The defendant (Gibson) drove his vehicle and collided into the vehicle occupied by the three victims. The impact from this collision caused the victims’ vehicle to overturn, and at least one of the occupants was trapped inside. The actions of the defendant in his motor vehicle resulted in the serious physical injuries of two of the three occupants/victims.”
It took firefighters and emergency responders about 30 minutes to free a passenger trapped in the back seat of the Envoy, which was upside down, resting on its roof. Rescuers said a total of four people were injured.
One of the victims, Hattie White, had to be flown by a Lifestar medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville to undergo surgery.
Another victim, Freddie White, was also taken to UT Medical Center, but by ambulance.
Both Hattie White and Freddie White were reported to be in stable condition at UT Medical Center on January 16. Hattie White remained at the hospital in stable condition on Monday afternoon, January 25. Hospital records show a patient named Frederick White has been discharged.
The third victim/witness is listed as Bobby White. The Whites all have Clinton mailing addresses.
Sharp said Gibson’s pickup truck had severe front end damage. The victims’ vehicle sustained severe damage on the left side.
Sharp noted that the posted speed limit on both roadways is 25 miles per hour.
The day of the crash, neighborhood residents told Oak Ridge Today that many people drive too fast in the area, and they asked drivers to please slow down, reminding them, among other things, that there are children who live in the area.
Three ambulances responded to the crash that day. So did the Oak Ridge Police Department and Oak Ridge Fire Department. The UT Lifestar medical helicopter picked up Hattie White at Methodist Medical Center.
Gibson has a court date set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, January 26, on the reckless aggravated assault charge. That hearing is in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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