Attorneys in crash death case say client wants to plea, but doesn’t like state’s offer

Becky Campbell • Feb 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Attorneys for a Mountain City man charged with vehicular homicide told a judge Thursday he will plead guilty, but had rejected a sentence offered by prosecutors.

David A. Billings, 50, 509 Brown Place, is charged in the Dec. 3, 2010, head-on crash on Bobby Hicks Highway that killed Tanya K. Martin, 27, of No. 30 Hidden Brook Lane, Gray, and injured her 6-year-old daughter.

According to court records, officers smelled alcohol on Billings at the crash scene and questioned him about it. Billings apparently told police he had been drinking, and officers found six full bottles of Budweiser beer in his truck.

During a court appearance for Billings on Thursday, his attorneys, Stacy Street and Jim Bowman, indicated Billings is likely to enter a plea later this year, but has rejected an offer from state prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney General Ken Baldwin said during Thursday’s hearing he offered a plea that would give Billings 10 years in prison, but “he decided he wants to take his chances with the judge.”

The case was reset for a tentative date in May.

The crash happened just before 8:30 p.m. on Bobby Hicks Highway. Police were already looking for Billings after someone called 911 to report a vehicle “being all over the roadway.”

Martin was pronounced dead at the crash scene and her daughter was taken to the Johnson City Medical Center by Washington County/Johnson City EMS.

Billings was flown to JCMC by helicopter. He was treated for injuries and blood was drawn for an alcohol-content test.

He is free on bond while the case is pending.

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