ROGERSVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol said that charges are pending against a Rogersville man who allegedly crossed the center line of a local highway on Monday night, resulting in a head-on collision that killed a Greeneville man.
THP said the crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. on June 29, 2020 on SR 66 South near Rogersville.
Jonathan Tackett, 27, of Rogersville, was the driver of a 2006 Nissan Altima, headed north, and reportedly crossed the center line near the Big Springs Road intersection.
Tackett’s Altima struck a southbound 1989 Nissan pickup head-on that was driven by Daniel Lee, 20, of Greeneville.
The Altima came to an uncontrolled final rest in the middle of the roadway, THP said, while the pickup came to an uncontrolled final rest off the right side of the roadway.
Lee died in the crash, THP said, while Tackett suffered what rescuers called “critical injuries”.
An air-evac helicopter was sought to transport Tackett but couldn’t fly due to a line of severe thunderstorms passing through the region at the time. He was transported to Ballad Health’s Hawkins Co. Memorial Hospital by a Hawkins Co. EMS ambulance. His condition was not known at presstime.
As is standard practice with any accident involving a death, authorities requested drug and alcohol tests on both drivers to determine if drugs and/or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Tackett and Lee were the only occupants of their vehicles.
Safety restraints were in use by Lee but in the trooper’s opinion, would not have made a difference in the outcome. Tackett was not wearing a safety belt, the report stated.
The THP report stated that citations and criminal charges are pending against Tackett.
Agencies that responded to the crash included the Hawkins Co. Rescue Squad, Hawkins Co. EMS, Hawkins Co. Sheriffs Office, Rogersville Police Department, and and Striggersville Vol. Fire Department.
State Trooper Poore was the investigating officer.
ARRESTED TWO DAYS EARLIER ON DUI, OTHER CHARGES
According to a report filed by Hawkins Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Carter, Jonathan Derek Tackett, of the 100 block of Builders Lane, was arrested two days prior to the accident, on Saturday evening, June 27, 2020, and charged with:
• Driving under the influence;
• Violation of financial responsibility law;
• Possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and,
• Possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to Carter’s report, around 4 p.m. on June 27, the deputy observed a 2006 gray Nissan Altima traveling east on US 11W near East Main Street, in Rogersville, at a speed clocked at radar of 74 mph in a 55mph zone.
Near Carters Valley Loop, north of Rogersville, the deputy activated blue lights and siren, and while behind the vehicle, observed it to cross the center line of US 11W three times, “almost going into the median”.
The Altima continued east at speeds of 78 mph, before turning into Surgoinsville Market where the driver stopped, was identified, and detained without incident.
“While speaking with Mr. Tackett, I observed glossy eyes, slurred speech and loss of balance while standing and walking,” Carter wrote.
Tackett consented to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests, but failed to perform satisfactorily.
He told the deputy that he had taken “prescribed medication of suboxone in the morning of 6/27/2020 and at noon of 6/27/2020,” the report continued. “When asked what time he thought it was, Mr. Tackett stated close to 12 p.m., around lunch. At that time it was approximately 4 p.m.”
The vehicle was towed by Skelton’s Towing since Tackett could not provide proof of insurance for the Altima.
“While inventorying the vehicle, a drawstring bag was located,” Carter wrote. “Inside the bag was black digital scale and a ziplock bag of suspected marijuana.”
Tackett’s arraignment on those charges was set for Monday morning, June 29, in Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.