A Knoxville man who admitted to drinking for two days straight and taking two Klonopins has now been charged with vehicular homicide, in addition to driving under the influence, after his 23-year-old passenger, Jessica Miner Taylor, of Heiskell, died about one week after a two-vehicle crash on Clinton Highway in Anderson County in April, authorities said.
Scott Allen Gray, 26, was initially charged with vehicular assault and DUI (second offense) after the two-vehicle crash injured three people at the intersection of Clinton Highway and Mehaffey Road on Thursday, April 28.
The vehicular homicide charge was added after Jessica Miner Taylor, who had been trapped in the car, died this month.
The THP said Gray was driving north on Clinton Highway in a 1993 Eagle Vision sedan on April 28 when he turned into the path of a southbound 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle driven by Kimberly Williamson, 32, of Knoxville.
The SUV driven by Williamson hit the car driven by Gray.
The passenger side of the Vision had significant damage, and Miner, who was the passenger in the car, was critically injured and flown by a Lifestar medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, authorities said.
She was immediately taken into the operating room because her bladder was torn from the crash, said THP Trooper Isaiah Lloyd.
She died from her injuries on Friday, May 6, according to her obituary.
Gray was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center the day of the crash.
Lloyd said a search of the Eagle Vision found multiple beer cans scattered throughout the car, and an open bottle of whiskey was found between the driver’s seat and rocker panel. Authorities also found a marijuana pipe and marijuana joint in the center console of the vehicle, Lloyd said in an affidavit filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton.
Interviewed at the hospital, Gray had bloodshot watery eyes, dilated pupils, and slurred speech, all signs of impairment, Lloyd said. He could only conduct one field sobriety test, according to the affidavit, which is attached to an arrest warrant.
“Based upon the observation of speech, eye condition, and odor of the alcohol omitting from Mr. Gray at the scene, the results indicated that Mr. Gray was impaired beyond legal limits, and normal clearness of mind was altered,” Lloyd said.
“Mr. Gray admitted to have been drinking for ‘two days straight’ and that he had taken two Klonopin and that he may have smoked some marijuana that day as well, but could not remember,” Lloyd said.
Gray checked himself out of the hospital, Lloyd said, and he was taken into custody and to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, where he remains jailed. His bond on the vehicular homicide charge has been set at $200,000.
Lloyd said Gray has a prior DUI conviction from 2009, and he told the trooper that he had received another DUI in Union County about two to three weeks before the Clinton Highway crash.
In a preliminary report at the time of the crash, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which investigated the crash, said Gray had eight more charges that alleged additional violations: open container, simple possession of Schedule IV drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, due care, improper turn/failure to yield, financial responsibility, and a registration violation. An additional charge of driving on a suspended license is listed in Anderson County General Sessions Court records.
Klonopin, or clonazepam, is used to prevent and control seizures, according to WebMD. It is also used to treat panic attacks, and it works by calming your brain and nerves.
But it can make you dizzy or drowsy, and WebMD says you should not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Also, alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
Gray has a hearing scheduled in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton at 1 p.m. May 25.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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