Vehicular homicide, more charges placed against driver in fatal Unicoi County wreck

Brad Hicks • Mar 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM

ERWIN — Charges have been placed against one of the drivers involved in a fatal car collision Tuesday evening on Sciota Road in the Unicoi area.

Trooper Jim Jackson with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the officer investigating the collision, said Thursday that Randy L. Julian, 31, of Elizabethton, has been charged with one count of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular assault, driving under the influence — third offense, driving on a revoked license and having no proof of insurance.

According to a report from the THP, Tabetha Grindstaff, 29, of Unicoi, was killed in the collision and her three passengers, her boyfriend and two children, ages 5 and 9, were injured. Julian, the driver of the other vehicle involved, also suffered injuries.

According to the preliminary THP report, which said the collision occurred at around 7 p.m Tuesday, the Chevy Camaro being driven by Grindstaff was traveling eastbound on Sciota Road while the Chevy S10 Blazer being driven by Julian was traveling westbound. The report states Julian’s vehicle crossed the center line of the road and Grindstaff ran off the roadway to attempt to avoid the collision.

The two vehicles struck head-on near the shoulder of the road on the eastbound side, according to the report.

Jackson said Grindstaff’s children were transported to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital at Johnson City Medical Center. While Jackson said safety belts saved the children’s lives, he said Grindstaff’s 5-year-old son had to undergo abdominal surgery for injuries suffered in the collision and Grindstaff’s 9-year-old daughter had to be transported to the hospital via Wings Air Rescue.

Grindstaff’s boyfriend suffered a leg injury and Julian suffered a fractured foot in the collision, Jackson said.

Jackson said Unicoi County Coroner Ed Herndon pronounced Grindstaff dead at the scene.

Jackson said authorities have been in contact with Julian and that he has offered to turn himself in. Once Julian is arrested, Jackson said a bond for him will be set in Unicoi County Sessions Court.

The investigation into the collision is ongoing and a homicide report will follow, Jackson said.

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