Johnson City Press Monday, July 28, 2014

Crime Local News

North Carolina driver arrested after hitting two pedestrians Thursday morning in Unicoi County

March 6th, 2014 5:19 pm by Brad Hicks

North Carolina driver arrested after hitting two pedestrians Thursday morning in Unicoi County

Kris Ann Waterhouse is charged with passing a stopped school bus and two counts of felony reckless aggravated assault.

UNICOI — A 6-year-old boy and his grandmother were injured Thursday morning when they were struck by an SUV at a bus stop on Unicoi Drive. The driver of that SUV was later arrested, according to law enforcement officials.

Sgt. Diane Mays with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the collision occurred around 6:30 a.m. on Unicoi Drive near the Buffalo Valley Golf Course. A Unicoi County school bus reportedly was traveling southbound and had stopped to pick up a child. The bus had its yellow flashing lights, stop bar out and red lights engaged, Mays said.

Six-year-old Austin Montana Smith was at a bus stop at 5228 Unicoi Drive with his grandmother, Katherine Bryant when, according to the bus driver, a Kia Sorento driven by Kris Ann Waterhouse, 57, of Bakersville, N.C. — traveling northbound — continued through the bus’ stop signals, striking both Smith and Bryant.

According to the THP's preliminary incident report, Waterhouse attempted to go past the bus while Smith was crossing the road to board the bus. When Bryant realized Waterhouse was not going to stop for her grandson, she reportedly ran into the road "and used her body to protect" the boy.

Smith was taken by ambulance to the Johnson City Medical Center. According to Mays, Smith suffered a subdural hematoma, broken left femur and skull fracture. Bryant, who was also transported to the hospital, suffered a head injury, a puncture wound to her left leg and possible broken ribs.

Police officials reportedly conferred with District Attorney General Tony Clark before charging Waterhouse with passing a stopped school bus and two counts of felony reckless aggravated assault.

Mays said she spoke with Waterhouse following the collision and she was “very hysterical.”

“She said she remembered seeing the yellow lights,” Mays said. “That’s the only statement I got from her.”

THP investigators also spoke with Waterhouse, who voluntarily took a blood test, Mays said. The blood sample has been sent to Nashville for testing, Mays said.

Waterhouse was booked in the Unicoi County Jail. A bond for Waterhouse has not yet been set, and she is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County General Sessions Court today.

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