Vehicular homicide, other charges sent to grand jury in Clinton Highway crash


Scott Gray, who has been charged with vehicular homicide, among other counts, is pictured above in Anderson County General Sessions Court, Division I, in Clinton on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

  CLINTON—Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers testified Thursday that a driver charged with vehicular homicide smelled of alcohol and said he had been drinking and had taken two anti-anxiety pills before a two-vehicle crash on Clinton Highway in April that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old Heiskell woman. 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 a crash witness and THP Trooper Isaiah Lloyd, the lead trooper in the investigation. 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. The THP said Scott Gray, 26, of Knoxville, was driving north on Clinton Highway in the Eagle sedan near Mehaffey Road on Thursday evening, April 28, when he turned into the path of a southbound 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle driven by Kimberly Williamson, 32, of Knoxville. The SUV driven by Williamson hit the car driven by Gray. The passenger side of the Eagle had significant damage, and passenger Jessica Miner Taylor, 23, of Heiskell, 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, Lloyd said in arrest warrants filed in 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. [Read more…]

In child abuse case, police allegedly find drugs, knives; dog urine, feces; roaches, dirty dishes

Jordan Tyler Etheridge and Honey Lee Hook July 2016

Jordan Tyler Etheridge, left, and Honey Lee Hook are pictured above. (Photos by Anderson County Sheriff’s Department)


An Oak Ridge man and woman were charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect after police conducting a welfare check on North Hollywood Circle on Saturday allegedly found drugs, paraphernalia, and several knives lying where a small child could reach them; dog urine and feces in several spots on the floor; roaches and dirty dishes with mold and bugs throughout the home; no running water that an officer could find; and a large bucket of dirty water in the middle of the floor, court records said.

The bathroom toilet was full of human waste, and there was a “foul odor throughout the residence,” according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.

There were several small individual wrapped plastic baggies lying in plain sight on the living room floor, and some had a green leafy substance inside that looked and smelled like marijuana and several had a white powdery substance inside them, packaged for resale, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Sherrill Selby said in the warrants. There were two spoons with a white powder substance on them lying on a television stand, Selby said.

The home is within 1,000 feet of the playground of the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, making it a drug-free school zone, the warrants said. [Read more…]

Warrants: Woman admits residents made meth in Tusculum Drive apartment

Kimberly Hughes Welch

Kimberly Hughes Welch

An Oak Ridge woman who lives at an apartment raided by police on Wednesday admitted that she and a man who also lives at the home were using methamphetamine laboratory components, including chemicals and pseudoephedrine powder, to make meth there, authorities said.

Besides the chemicals and pseudoephedrine, officers also found gas generators, hoses, and what they described as bi-layer liquids, according to arrest warrants. Police described those items as meth lab components. They were allegedly found inside Apartment C at 197 Tusculum Drive during a Wednesday evening search, according to the warrants, which were filed by Simon Byrne of the Seventh District Crime Task Force.

Raynell Fountaine Hopson

Raynell Fountaine Hopson

After she was read her Miranda rights, apartment resident Kimberly Welch, 48, told police that she and Raynell Hopson, 47, who also lives in the apartment, were using the equipment to make meth, Byrne said.

Welch and Hopson have each been charged with the initiation of meth manufacturing, possession of drug paraphernalia, and the manufacture/delivery/sale of Schedule II drugs.

The alleged meth lab was within 1,000 feet of La Petite Academy on Tulsa Road, a drug-free school zone, so there could be a school zone enhancement to the charges, which would be applied at sentencing if Welch or Hopson are convicted, said Russell Barker, director of the Seventh District Crime Task Force. [Read more…]

Two arrested after alleged dirt bike theft, police car hit, authorities say

Charles Ray Eller

Charles Ray Eller

Two men who admitted stealing a trailer and dirt bikes early Monday morning have been charged with theft and evading arrest, and the driver of the fleeing pickup truck has been charged with aggravated assault after trying to strike one Oak Ridge Police Department vehicle and backing up and hitting another, authorities said.

Police officers received the report of the trailer and dirt bike theft at about 2:45 a.m. Monday, August 31, at 208 South Illinois Avenue, an area near two hotels. The trailer and dirt bike were estimated to have a value of at least $10,000.

In arrest warrants, ORPD Officer Kyle Scott said he saw Charles R. Eller, 27, who is listed as a transient, and Joshua R. Hannifin, 29, of Oak Ridge, at that location, near a trailer that matched the given description. The trailer was attached to a black Ford F150 pickup truck, Scott said.

When Eller and Hannifin saw him, the officer said, they quickly got into the truck and fled. Scott said he chased them with his lights and sirens on. [Read more…]