An Oak Ridge woman is facing three more felony charges, including a second vehicular homicide charge, in the death of a 37-year-old Harriman mother and Roane County Schools employee after a three-vehicle crash at Oak Ridge Turnpike and Jefferson Avenue in May.
The new charges, filed against Vicki G. Gilmore, 62, on September 29, also include aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. The new homicide charge is vehicular homicide (recklessness).
The original charges filed against Gilmore, who is suspected of using a narcotic pain-reliever, were vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, reckless driving, failure to maintain a single lane, leaving the scene of an accident, violation of the implied consent law, and duty upon striking a fixture. The original charges were filed in May.
A preliminary hearing has been set for 10 a.m. October 21 in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge. During a preliminary hearing, a judge can hear from victims, witnesses, and investigators, and determine whether charges should be bound over, or sent to a grand jury for its consideration. An indictment by a grand jury bumps a case from general sessions court to criminal court.
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, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Derek A. Burchfield wrote in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge in May.
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, Burchfield said in the affidavits.
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, Burchfield said. Janna Duncan, the four-year-old, 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.
He said she had constricted pupils and droopy eyelids.
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.
He said Gilmore 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.
Authorities said Gilmore 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 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 seven original charges was set at $83,000. It remains unchanged after the three new charges.
A July 21 order based upon the petition of Gilmore and the recommendation of Ridgeview and signed by Judge Roger Miller calls for a forensic evaluation at Moccasin Bend in Chattanooga that would determine whether Gilmore is competent to stand trial and to determine her mental condition at the time of the crash.
Duncan was an employee at Roane County Schools, where she was a school social worker and worked with the student support team.
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.
“I met that beautiful woman when she was a happy little toddler,” said Jeanette Reynolds, Christy Duncan’s former stepmother, after a June 28 hearing for Gilmore. “She (Duncan) was so funny and bubbly and filled with life! And she grew into the most amazing woman…an educated, classy, successful woman. A lover of God, a wonderful mother, and a devoted wife is how I would describe Christy Brown Duncan.”
The family was devastated by Duncan’s death, Reynolds said. She said family members are concerned that Gilmore is still driving.
“She (Gilmore) was free to go home to be with her family, but we’ll never see Christy again, this side of Heaven,” Reynolds said after the June 28 hearing.
The Anderson County Public Defender’s Office has declined to comment on the case.
Reynolds said Duncan hated to leave her husband and little girl and the rest of her family. But, “we know that Christy is in Heaven,” Reynolds said. The family doesn’t know Gilmore or what she might be thinking, but they do long for and expect justice, Reynolds said.
“Christy has no voice, and we’re here to represent her,” Reynolds said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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