Johnson City Press Friday, October 31, 2014

Crime Local News

Case of woman charged with hitting child at school bus stop put off

March 28th, 2014 9:16 am by Brad Hicks

Case of woman charged with hitting child at school bus stop put off

Kris Ann Waterhouse

ERWIN — The North Carolina woman who faces charges for striking a boy and his grandmother with her vehicle at a Unicoi bus stop in March appeared in Unicoi County Sessions Court on Thursday.

Kris Ann Waterhouse, of Bakersville, N.C., was charged March 6 with passing a stopped school bus and two counts of felony reckless endangerment.

Waterhouse’s appearance was brief, as attorneys on both sides of the case are awaiting the results of a blood test taken the day Waterhouse allegedly struck two pedestrians.

Following Thursday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis said it is currently taking around six months to receive the results of blood tests submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He said this is due to the agency first testing for the presence of alcohol, and if none is detected, then testing for drugs.

Waterhouse is scheduled to be back in Sessions Court on May 29, and while Curtis said there may be some movement on the case by then, he said the hearing was scheduled to serve as more of a status update.

“More than anything, it’s about her attorney and her keeping in touch and us all being on the same page about the case going forward,” Curtis said.

Curtis said the blood test is being done to determine exactly what Waterhouse should be charged with. He said the presence of alcohol or drugs would enhance her current charges.

“We probably have probable cause right now for what she’s charged with, but if it comes back that she does have a certain level of drugs, that’s when the charge would be enhanced to vehicular assault,” Curtis said.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol previously reported that the collision that injured 6-year-old Austin Smith and his grandmother, Katherine Bryant, occurred at around 6:30 a.m. at a bus stop in the 5200 block of Unicoi Drive. The bus was traveling southbound and had stopped to pick up Smith. The bus had on its yellow flashing lights, stop bar out and red lights engaged, officials previously said.

The SUV driven by Waterhouse — traveling northbound — continued through the bus’ stop signals, striking both Smith and Bryant, officials said.

The THP’s report at the time said Waterhouse attempted to go past the bus while Smith was crossing the road to board it. When Bryant realized Waterhouse was not going to stop, she ran into the road and “used her body to protect” her grandson, the report said.

Both Smith and Bryant were transported to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment of their injuries. Bryant was released from the hospital soon after the alleged collision and Smith was released March 11.

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