An Oak Ridge woman was arrested on a probation violation charge after a fatal crash in Poplar Creek in Roane County on Tuesday, authorities said.
Rebecca L. Vanasse, 26, of North Purdue Avenue, was arrested by the Oak Ridge Police Department on the violation of probation charge on Tuesday, according to Anderson County court and jail records. A hold has also been placed on Vanasse for Rhea County, and she remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday morning, according to those records.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas confirmed that Vanasse is the same woman who has been identified as the driver in the fatal creek crash on Poplar Creek Road on Tuesday. She was arrested by ORPD after she was treated and released from the emergency room, Lucas said.
“We had a probation violation warrant and Rhea County had a warrant as well,” he said.
Vanasse has a court hearing scheduled for April 4 on the probation violation charge in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I, in Clinton.
The probation violation charge against Vanasse was filed February 26, before the fatal crash this week. It said Vanasse failed to report to the probation office as ordered by Anderson County General Sessions Court in an earlier drug possession case. Vanasse also failed a random drug test on January 5, testing positive for methamphetamine and oxycodone, according to the February 26 warrant for probation violation.
It’s not clear yet what additional charges might be filed in Roane County. On Wednesday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which investigated the fatal crash in Poplar Creek on Tuesday, said criminal charges are pending.
The single-vehicle crash, which was just north of west Oak Ridge, killed Warner D. Martin, 50, of Rocky Top (the former Lake City). He was a passenger in a silver 2006 Mazda 3 four-door car driven by Vanasse, the THP said in a fatality report.
Carrying three people, the car swerved on the narrow, curvy road and overcorrected, the THP said. Because of the overcorrection, the vehicle went down an embankment along the westbound side of the road and into the creek, where it became fully submerged, the THP said.
The single-vehicle crash was reported on Poplar Creek Road a few miles east of Blair Road at about 11:04 a.m. Tuesday. The front end of the car appeared to have plunged into the creek first. There is no shoulder and no guardrail along the road, and the steep embankment drops down about 15-20 feet to the creek.
The THP report said Vanasse was injured, although it didn’t include information on the extent of her injuries. A second passenger, Ethan James Alexander Wilson, 26, also of Rocky Top, had injuries listed as unknown in the report. All three of the car’s occupants were wearing seat belts, the THP report said.
The report said Vanasse had not been drinking, but it said troopers did not know if she had used drugs. Tests have been requested, which is routine in fatal crashes.
The report said tests have also been requested for Warner, the man who died, although it’s not known if he had been drinking or used drugs. Tests were not requested for Wilson, the passenger who survived.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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