30 year old James T. Evans of Dowelltown pleaded guilty Monday in Wilson County Circuit Court to vehicular assault and two counts of reckless vehicular homicide stemming from an April 2005 wreck that killed his cousin and a friend.
The Lebanon Democrat reports that Evans received a total sentence of eight years, one year of which must be served in jail before he is eligible for release on probation
The six car fatal traffic accident, which occurred at the Highway 109 interchange of Interstate 40, killed Evans' cousin, 28 year old Martisha Annice League of Smithville and 23 year old Victoria Susan Dyer of Baxter, who were both passengers in his car.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the crash occurred in the outer lane of I-40 westbound, where three cars were stopped and a fourth car was slowing to a stop due to an earlier accident further ahead on the interstate.
Evans' vehicle approached the traffic jam traveling at a high rate of speed and did not slow down in time to avoid a crash.
Evans' vehicle did crash into the car in front of it, causing a five-car pile-up.
After the initial crash, Evans' vehicle was hit by a sixth vehicle that was \"traveling at an Interstate speed,\" according to the THP report, and tried unsuccessfully to avoid the crash by driving into the median.
Dyer, one of the four other passengers in the Evans vehicle, was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.
Also flown to Vanderbilt was 48 year old Dana Marie Ragan of Kingston Springs, the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the crash. Ragan's injuries were the reason for the vehicular assault charge.
The Lebanon Democrat reports that Evans and all his passengers had consumed alcohol directly prior to the accident, with the exception of one underaged passenger, according to the case file.
Evans' reckless vehicular homicide charges were downgraded from charges of vehicular homicide. The state dismissed charges of reckless endangerment and driving under the influence of intoxicants.