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Drunk Driving Suspected in Fatal Tennessee Accident


An accident near Smyrna, Tennessee left one person dead and six others injured this past Monday, February 17.

Trooper Dana Vann believes that alcohol could be to blame, and she sent blood samples taken from the driver who died to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Nashville Crime Laboratory for evaluation.

Woman Critically Injured in Drunk Driving Accident

According to the Daily News Journal, the accident occurred after a the driver of a Toyota Celica attempted to pass a vehicle along the Old Nashville Highway and collided head-on with an oncoming Chevrolet Trailblazer carrying six. The driver of the Celica, 53-year-old Ronald King, died at the scene.

The impact caused Trailblazer to flip. 64-year-old Deborah Debenadetto, who was a passenger in the SUV, was transported by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A media relations official with Vanderbilt said that she was still in critical condition as of Tuesday.

Other Occupants Also Hospitalized

  • Montoya Taylor, 39 who was also in the SUV, was taken to a hospital on Monday and was released after being treated.
  • The other occupants of the SUV were driver Maria Tarpley, 18, Ruth Griggs, 71, Debra Ostereld, 63, and Gloria Johnson, 66.
  • Johnson was transported to TriStar Skyline Medical Center where she is listed in good condition. Tarpley was last reported to be in stable condition at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital.
  • The condition of the remaining passengers is currently unknown.
Auto Accident Statistics
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,561 people died in traffic collisions in 2012 – up from 32,479 in 2011.
  • An additional 2,362,000 people were injured marking a 6.5 percent increase from 2011.
  • 10,322 traffic fatalities were attributed to drunk driving in 2012.

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