Trial Of Truck Driver In Wreck That Claimed 6 Lives At Ooltewah Exit Is Delayed

Friday, June 16, 2017

The trial of a truck driver charged in six deaths at the Ooltewah exit of I-75 has been delayed.

A jury was selected in Nashville on Monday for the Benjamin Brewer trial, which was set to begin this coming Monday in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole.

A new trial date will be selected in court on Monday. The initial jury will be dismissed and a new one chosen later.

The defense said it learned that the National Transportation Safety Board tested Brewer's blood from the time of the wreck and found a lower level of meth and amphetamine than a test by the TBI.

The TBI test showed .08 micrograms per milliliter of meth and less than .05 micrograms per milliliter of amphetamine.

The defense said the NTSB sent the blood to a lab that found .045 micrograms per milliliter of meth and less than .022 micrograms per milliliter of amphetamine.

The TBI test was last July 16. The NTSB test was Nov. 10. 

The defense said it needs time to study the results of the NTSB and to call a lab worker as a witness.

The defense said it did not learn about the NTSB test until late in the day on Wednesday.

The public defender's office is representing Brewer, who is from Kentucky.

Brian Gallaher, band director for Ocoee Middle School in Cleveland, was among those killed in a 9-vehicle crash on northbound Interstate 75 near the Ooltewah exit. He was in a 2010 Toyota Prius.

Also killed was Jason Ramos, assistant director of residential life at Dalton State. He was on his way home to Brunswick, Ohio, for vacation, traveling in a 2003 Mazda station wagon.

Sisters Savannah and Kelsey, eight and 10, were also among the fatalities. They were killed along with two other occupants of the same 2010 Toyota Scion. They were Tiffany Watts, 31, of Morristown, Tn., and Sandra Anderson, 50, of Rutledge, Tn. Ms. Watts was the mother and Ms. Anderson the grandmother of the girls. The two children were living in California with their father. This was the only vehicle in the wreck that caught fire. One woman from the Scion was ejected, and the others died in the fire.

Police said the tragic accident at Ooltewah on Thursday night was caused when a tractor-trailer slammed into eight vehicles stopped for a construction project.  

The driver of the 2007 Peterbuilt semi was identified as Benjamin Scott Brewer, 39, of London, Ky. He and his female companion, Charity Dawn Pennington, 38, were not injured.

There were a total of 18 individuals involved. Six individuals were medically treated or transported to local hospitals, and six required no medical treatment.

Those with non-life threatening injuries were Marty Tumbleson and Charles Allen Daniels Jr. of Tennessee in a GMC Savana van, John and Nancy Stanley of Mississippi in a 2007 Chevy Highlander minivan, Ryan Humphries of Tennessee in a 2001 Ford F150, and Justin Knox of Mississippi in a 2015 Cadillac TS.

Also involved in the wreck with no injuries were Travis and Tina Close and their two minor children. They were in a 2015 Toyota Tundra. There were 12 people injured in all.




Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant; By Mail

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com.  and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The ... (click for more)

Firearm-Related Crimes Up Almost 25% In Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a report on Thursday detailing the nature and volume of reported firearms-related crime across the state over a four-year period. The report “Firearm Violence in Tennessee: 2013-2016” utilizes data submitted by the state’s law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). Among the report’s findings: ... (click for more)

Technology: The Virtual Drug

The truth is you're probably reading this on a mobile device or your computer. As a matter of fact, I’m typing this down on a MacBook Pro. The point is technology is everywhere. It engulfs like a tsunami engulfs a village, only a few ever escape. In fact, it took me two hours to start this paper because I was so hypnotized by phone, checking my Instagram and seeing what the next ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at  Monday  night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You ... (click for more)

Undefeated Soddy Daisy Rolls Past Improved Ooltewah

Wrestling is one of those sports where peaking is a process.  All coaches hope their guys reach their full potential in February when the post-season tournaments take place. So it’s hard to really put a finger on who’s who and what’s what in mid December, but the Soddy Daisy Trojans are headed in the right direction and the Ooltewah Owls are making wonderful progress as ... (click for more)

Will Healy Selected as FCS Coach of the Year

For Will Healy, receiving Christmas presents early seems to be a habit with the 32-year-old Chattanooga native Now in only his second year as head football coach of the Austin Peay Governors, he has been selected as the FCS Coach of the Year as he guided APU to an 8-4 record this season. He was hired as APU had coach Dec. 19, 2015, was a member of the Richmond Spiders ... (click for more)