Harrogate woman no-show for court on 2010 vehicular homicide charge

Becky Campbell • May 24, 2012 at 8:12 AM

A Washington County Criminal Court judge issued an arrest capias for a woman who was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday with an attorney to face a 2010 vehicular homicide charge.

Andrea Leigh Nantz, 24, 113 Harrogate Drive , Harrogate, was a no-show at her fourth court date after being arrested in July and posting a $50,000 bond.

At each other court date — Sept. 23, Dec. 2 and March 26 — Nantz told Judge Lynn Brown she intended to hire an attorney.

She cannot be arraigned on the charge until she has an attorney

At one of those court appearances, Assistant District Attorney General Janet Vest Hardin strongly opposed the judge’s decision to give Nantz more time to hire a lawyer. Wednesday was apparently the last straw for Brown, who ordered Nantz to be arrested.

“The capias and conditional forfeiture (of bond) is issued. Sheriff, go get her,” Brown said.

Nantz is accused of using a cell phone and having drugs in her system when she crashed into a parked car on U.S. Highway 11E, killing a Greene County man June 16, 2010.

Floyd Watts, 77, 107 Ashland Drive, Greeneville, died from injuries he suffered when Nantz hit his car, investigators said.

After the indictment was served on Nantz, District Attorney General Tony Clark said toxicology results showed several drugs in her system, but the levels were too low to charge her with vehicular homicide by intoxication.

That would have carried a harsher punishment than vehicular homicide by reckless conduct.

“Our forensic toxicologist said even with the drugs in her system, he couldn’t testify that she was impaired,” Clark said.

Nantz didn’t have alcohol in her blood, but did have trace amounts of amphetamines, methamphetamine oxycodone and marijuana metabolite.

A Washington County Sheriff’s Office crash report also indicated there was a phone call made just before the crash and the “line remained open for six minutes and 40 seconds, well into the time the crash occurred.”

A passenger in Nantz’s car, Theodore Creech, also of Harrogate, told a deputy he was asleep when the crash happened and had not used the phone.

Witnesses told investigators the Jeep had been driving normally and appeared to be traveling the speed limit when the crash happened.

Watts was sitting in his 2001 Subaru Outback that was parked on the eastbound shoulder of the highway a half mile west of Limestone Ruritan Road around 10 a.m. that day.

The crash report does not indicate why Watts was parked on the side of the road.

Nantz, driving a 2001 Jeep Cherokee, was traveling east on U.S. 11E and suddenly swerved off the road and hit Watts’ car. The Outback rolled off the shoulder into a grassy area while the Cherokee rolled onto its top and slid several feet.

Watts was taken to Johnson City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Watts’ daughters have traveled to Jonesborough from Clarksville and North Carolina to attend each of Nantz’s hearings.

Vehicular homicide is a Class C felony that carries three to 15 years in prison, depending on a defendant’s prior record.

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