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Man, 21, charged in crash that killed his best friend's mom

Whenever suspicion of driving under the influence is alleged, the accusation deserves to be fully investigated. It is not uncommon for authorities in Tennessee to use a single event to level a broad array of charges against a suspect. If DUI is used as a cornerstone charge for others, bringing that issue into question may be key to successfully defending the entire case.

This may be something that a 21-year-old Knoxville man has on his mind right now. He's been charged by Clinton police on suspicion of driving under the influence and with vehicular homicide in connection with a crash that left one person dead and three other people injured.

Authorities say the three-vehicle accident happened around 4:30 Friday afternoon. They say the arrested suspect was driving a pickup truck. With him was a 22-year-old man, identified as the driver's best friend, the friend's 40-year-old mother and her 38-year-old fiancé. Police say the two young men were properly restrained in the front seat of the truck. The woman and her fiancé were reportedly in the back seat not wearing seatbelts.

Police claim the pickup truck had crossed the center line while passing a slower vehicle when it collided head-on into a small economy car carrying three people. The impact threw the mother out of the pickup truck and she was declared dead at the scene. Her son was hospitalized, but apparently not because of injuries suffered in the accident. The three individuals in the small sedan also required hospitalization.

This is surely a tragic situation. It is unclear, though, what the basis of the DUI charge against the young Knoxville man may be. There is nothing in the news story indicating where the four in the pickup truck had been, whether police ever made a determination blood alcohol level in the driver.   

Getting to the root of all the salient issues of such a multi-faced case would seem to be crucial to protecting this defendant's rights.

Source: The Oak Ridger, "Woman killed in crash, driver charged with DUI," Beverly Majors, Dec. 11, 2013

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