A preliminary hearing has been set for January 2017 for a woman charged after a fatal car-motorcycle crash on North Illinois Avenue in January 2016, court officials said.
The preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. January 19, 2017, in Anderson County General Sessions Court Division II in Oak Ridge.
The defendant, Noelle Leigh Patty, 29, of Oak Ridge, has been charged with failure to yield the right-of-way, resulting in death; a violation of the law to obey traffic control devices; and a failure to provide proof of financial responsibility.
There was a status hearing for Patty on Thursday, although she did not have to appear. She was expected to enter a plea, waive the charges to a grand jury, or set a date for a preliminary hearing.
The crash occurred between a Cadillac STS car and Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle on Sunday evening, January 31, at the western exit of the Westcott Center, the Kroger shopping center. Authorities said Patty, who was driving the Cadillac, made an improper left turn from a right-turn-only lane at that exit, and she failed to yield to Rufus E. Shephard III, 44, of Oak Ridge, who was riding the motorcycle north on North Illinois Avenue. Shephard died after colliding with the car, which was turning south in “the pathway of northbound traffic,” Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Chris Luethge said in arrest warrants filed after the crash.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge can hear testimony and then determine whether there is probable cause to send charges to a grand jury for its consideration. If a grand jury indicts a defendant, the charges are bumped from general sessions court to criminal court.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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