Woman charged with vehicular homicide to go to trial in August
Apr 5, 2013 at 10:21 PM
A Claiborne County woman charged in a 2010 vehicular homicide case will go to trial this summer, a judge ruled Friday.
Andrea Leigh Nantz, 25, of Harrogate, was also given $7,500 bond after having been held without bond on a failure to appear charge.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood set Nantz’s trial date for Aug. 20.
Nantz missed a court day in May and was arrested on the failure to appear charge in July. She’s been in jail since then.
Nantz is accused of using a cell phone and having drugs in her system when she crashed into a parked car on Highway 11E, killing a Greene County man on 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 in 2011, District Attorney General Tony Clark said toxicology results showed several drugs in Nantz’s 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 said 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 2001 Jeep Cherokee Nantz was driving 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 that morning.
The crash report does not indicate why Watts was parked on the side of the road.
Nantz was traveling east on Highway 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 the Johnson City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Vehicular homicide is a Class C felony that carries three to 15 years in prison, depending on a defendant’s prior record.