The driver charged with vehicular homicide in a fatal three-vehicle crash in Oak Ridge on May 6 is suspected of using a narcotic pain-reliever, authorities said.
Vicki G. Gilmore, 61, of Oak Ridge, had constricted pupils and droopy eyelids after the Friday night crash, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Derek A. Burchfield wrote in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
The crash was reported at about 9:47 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Jefferson Avenue.
All witness statements said Gilmore was driving fast in the westbound lanes of Oak Ridge Turnpike, Burchfield said. A blue Nissan Altima was on the inside lane at the red light. Inside that car were Christy Duncan, 37, of Harriman, and her four-year-old daughter Janna.
In the outside lane was a silver Lexus occupied by Jason Watson, according to the affidavits, which are attached to arrest warrants.
“All statements say Gilmore failed to slow down or even hit the brakes, crashing into the rear of Duncan’s vehicle before sliding sideways into Watson’s vehicle,” the affidavits said.
Duncan was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where she later died from her injuries. Janna Duncan was taken to the UT Medical Center also.
Authorities suspected that Gilmore was under the influence of a substance other than alcohol, Burchfield said.
Interviewed at the crash site, where she was sitting on the westbound curb at Jefferson Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, Gilmore had a blank stare and appeared to be confused about what had happened, Burchfield said.
“As Gilmore first began to speak, she was very agitated and uncooperative,” Burchfield said, and her speech was low and raspy.
He said Gilmore agreed to perform some standardized field sobriety testing. But she said she could not walk a straight line, stand on one foot, or follow something without moving her head, Burchfield said.
Gilmore gave permission for some of her vital signs to be checked, Burchfield said. He said he checked her pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and muscle tone.
“All of the tests that were conducted indicated Gilmore was on a narcotic analgesic (pain-reliever),” Burchfield said.
“Gilmore’s behavior exhibited was reckless and created a death while she was believed to be driving under the influence,” Burchfield said.
Gilmore has also been charged with driving under the influence. Burchfield said she initially agreed to allow her blood to be drawn to determine the alcohol and drug content. But she changed her mind at the hospital, saying she would not give blood, Burchfield said. She was charged with violation of the implied consent law.
Gilmore was also charged with reckless driving. Authorities said she allegedly hit city property, a state route sign and right-of-way landscaping, prior to the fatal crash.
“It was reported through witness statements and investigation that the defendant left the area of Starbucks on Oak Ridge Turnpike headed westbound at a high rate of speed passing vehicles on the road, the shoulder, and off the road,” ORPD Officer Matthew R. Johnston wrote in an affidavit for the reckless driving charge. “The defendant (Gilmore) left the road near Kroger, striking a sign post, backed onto Oak Ridge Turnpike, a state route, then fled the area by running a red light. Witness stated that the defendant was all over the road, running vehicles off the road and causing them to stop.”
Gilmore was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident, and duty upon striking a fixture. Gilmore was booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton early Saturday morning, May 7, and released on Monday afternoon, May 9. Her bond on the six charges has been set at $82,500.
Duncan was an employee at Roane County Schools, where she was a school social worker and worked with the student support team.
“Please remember Christy’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” Roane County Schools said in a post published on Facebook on Monday, May 9. “Also remember our other student support workers as they deal with this loss. She was a true asset to our system and will be greatly missed.”
Duncan was born in Oak Ridge in 1978, and she graduated from Oliver Springs High School in 1996. She studied social work at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and received her bachelor’s degree in social work in 2002. She received her master’s degree from LMU in 2015.
She attended Ridge Church in Oak Ridge, where she worked in the children’s ministry.
Duncan’s obituary said she was a loving wife, mother, and sister who loved spending time with her family, especially going shopping with her stepdaughter and daughter, Megan and Janna.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Janet Davis.
She is survived by her father, Larry Brown of Knoxville; by her husband, Chris Duncan; by her children, Janna Duncan and Megan Wright; by brothers, E.J. Brown and Derek Brown of Knoxville; by a sister, Kimberly Seiber of Wartburg; by a niece, Allie Seiber; and by a nephew, Aiden Seiber.
The family received friends, Tuesday, May 10, at Premier Sharp Funeral Home in Oliver Springs, and the funeral followed in the funeral home chapel with Pastor Bobby Williams officiating. Burial and graveside services were held Wednesday, May 11, at Anderson Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Janna Duncan Scholarship fund at the ORNL Federal Credit Union under Chris Duncan’s name.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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