Charges dropped due to death of defendant

Becky Campbell • Sep 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment charges against a Washington County man were dismissed this week after his attorney reported to a judge the man has died.

Jeffrey Lyons, 53, of Jonesborough, apparently passed away “unexpectedly” Aug. 26, according to a death notice that ran in the Johnson City Press.

Lyons was indicted in January on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of reckless aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment. The charges stem from a two-vehicle crash July 31, 2010, around 10:30 p.m. near the intersection of Fordtown Road and Dark Hollow Road.

According to court documents, Lyons was driving a Ford F-250 on Fordtown Road when he crossed the center line and struck the driver’s side of an oncoming Dodge Caravan.

Sharon Perkins, 56, a passenger in that van, was killed. The driver, Jack Perkins III, 27, and two other passengers, 53-year-old Jack Perkins Jr., and an 18-month-old girl, were injured.

Lyons also suffered serious injuries, and was unconscious when paramedics arrived on the scene. On the way to the hospital, Lyons remained unconscious and unresponsive. Emergency personnel only found a faint pulse and had to put in a breathing tube to help Lyons breathe.

Lyons was also unconscious when medical staff took a blood sample that was later tested for alcohol or drugs at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab. That test showed Lyons’ blood alcohol content was .25 — more than triple the legal limit of .08.

His attorney, Mark Slagle, had filed a motion earlier this year to suppress that blood evidence because he said it was retrieved illegally because Lyons was unable to refuse the test or submit voluntarily.

Lyons had been free on bond prior to his death.

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