CLINTON—A Knoxville man has been indicted on vehicular homicide and other charges in the death of a 23-year-old Heiskell woman after a two-vehicle crash on Clinton Highway in April 2016.
The specific homicide charge against Scott Allen Gray, 27, is vehicular homicide by intoxication. Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers testified during an August 11 preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I, in Clinton that Gray smelled of alcohol and said he had been drinking and taken two anti-anxiety pills before the crash. Gray’s passenger, Jessica Miner Taylor, died about a week after the crash.
The Anderson County Grand Jury also indicted Gray on charges of reckless endangerment when a deadly weapon (a motor vehicle) is involved; failure to yield the right of way, resulting in death; failure of provide evidence of insurance; failure to carry a certificate of registration; failure to use due care; violation of the open container law; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of marijuana.
Gray had an arraignment and bond hearing scheduled this past Friday in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
Charges against Gray were bound over, or sent to the Grand Jury, during the preliminary hearing in August. The indictments were filed May 2. An indictment moves a case from Anderson County General Sessions Court to Anderson County Criminal Court.
Gray’s bond has been set at $75,000. He was released from the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Wednesday, according to jail and court records. Gray had been in jail since April 28, 2016. His bond on the vehicular homicide charge had earlier been set at $200,000. It’s not clear why the new bond amount is lower.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said earlier that Gray was driving north on Clinton Highway in a 1993 Eagle four-door sedan near Mehaffey Road on Thursday evening, April 28, 2016, when he turned into the path of a southbound 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle driven by Kimberly Williamson of Knoxville. The SUV driven by Williamson hit the car driven by Gray.
The passenger side of the Eagle driven by Gray had significant damage, and Taylor, Gray’s passenger, was trapped and critically injured. After she was extricated, she was 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, THP Trooper Isaiah Lloyd said in arrest warrants filed last May.
Gray was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center the day of the crash. Williamson had minor injuries, and she was taken in a personal vehicle to Tennova North, where she was treated and released, authorities said earlier.
Miner died from her injuries about a week after the crash, on Friday, May 6, according to her obituary.
Interviewed at the hospital after the crash, Gray appeared too impaired to drive, Lloyd, the lead trooper in the investigation, testified during the preliminary hearing in August. Gray’s blood alcohol level was reported to be 0.175 a few hours after the crash, or about twice the legal limit.
THP Sergeant Bobby Smith also interviewed Gray at UT Medical Center. Gray was on a bed with a neck brace, and he spoke “sort of intoxicated,” with slurred speech, Smith said. Gray said he had had a “couple of beers” and maybe a shot of whiskey and had taken two Klonopins, an anti-anxiety medication, Smith testified.
There was a half-empty bottle of whiskey found between the driver’s seat and the rocker panel of the 1993 Eagle four-door sedan, according to testimony by Lloyd and a crash witness. Lloyd testified that he saw a glass marijuana pipe with residue in the center console of the car, a marijuana joint inside a prescription bottle, and at least six beer cans on the passenger floorboard of the car, although it wasn’t clear if the cans were empty or full.
Gray has a prior DUI conviction from 2009, Lloyd said.
He had been arrested a few weeks before the Clinton Highway crash for allegedly driving under the influence in Union County, according to testimony during the preliminary hearing.
Mehaffey Road is a short drive from Edgemoor Road and Claxton Elementary School in Anderson County, and it’s near the beginning of a curvy, hilly section of Clinton Highway headed toward Knoxville.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See more information, including additional testimony, from the August 11, 2016, preliminary hearing here.
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