A criminal case is pending against a Claxton man who was allegedly intoxicated when he crashed through a chain link fence into a playground at an elementary school in Clinton and almost hit two officers with three school-aged children, Anderson County court records said.
Charles Eric Harmon, 59, had a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about his breath and person,” and he told officers he was intoxicated and had “shot up heroin” earlier in the day and shouldn’t have been driving, Clinton Police Department Sergeant Scott Gregory said in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Harmon has been charged with driving under the influence and five felony counts of reckless endangerment.
The crash was reported on Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Clinton Elementary School on North Hicks Street. Harmon has a pre-trial conference scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, July 30, 2018, in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton.
Affidavits filed by Gregory after the crash in October said a vehicle driven by Harmon had traveled through a chain link fence into the Clinton Elementary School playground and uphill into a tree. The Clinton Police Department and Clinton Fire Department both responded.
“Officers made contact with the vehicle and driver, who confirmed he was not injured,” the affidavits said. “The operator then discontinued control of the vehicle and proceeded backwards toward children and other responding officers. The vehicle then changed course of travel backwards into a hedge row, causing the vehicle to not have contact with the ground.”
“Two officers with three school-aged children were almost struck by Harmon as he sped backwards into the hedge row, crashing again,” Gregory said in the affidavits, which are short narratives that are attached to arrest warrants. “This officer believes Harmon was driving a motor vehicle under the influence, contributing to the accident.”
After telling officers he was intoxicated and had used heroin, Harmon told officers he was experiencing chest pains and wanted to go to the hospital, the affidavits said. He was treated by Anderson County and then taken to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge for treatment, Gregory wrote. The CPD sergeant said he went to the hospital to request a blood test, and Harmon submitted to the request. The test was to be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for further analysis.
Harmon has been charged with driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor, and the five counts of reckless endangerment, a Class C felony.
Harmon was arrested February 17 and released from the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton that same day, with his bond set at $127,500.
He is represented by defense attorney Michael Ritter of Oak Ridge.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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