Second delay in former bus driver's DUI case due to pending Tenn. Supreme Court ruling

Becky Campbell • Aug 14, 2018 at 5:54 PM

A pending Tennessee Supreme Court ruling has delayed a former Washington County bus driver’s DUI case for the second time.

Jackie Adams, 49, of Telford, appeared in Washington County General Sessions Court on Tuesday with her attorney, Gene Scott.

Adams was a Washington County Schools bus driver when she was arrested on DUI and reckless endangerment charges Feb. 28. A  Jonesborough police officer pulled her over after a 911 call from another motorist, who observed Adams driving her bus erratically on East Main Street around 7:20 a.m.

Officers located the bus and pulled it over. An officer said Adams had visual signs of impairment and asked her to perform a sobriety test. Police said 23 students were aboard Adams’ bus at the time of her arrest.

A Washington County Department of Education transportation worker responded to the scene and drove the children to school.

Adams’ first scheduled preliminary hearing, set for June 18, was reset after her attorney made the request because of State v. Decosimo, which is the case the Supreme Court has under review.

The issue in that case revolves around the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducting blood alcohol testing and how the agency is reimbursed $250 for those tests only if there is a conviction. 

According to a Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ruling, the defendant in that case, Rosemary Decosimo, pleaded no contest to DUI, but reserved her right to appeal the case regarding the trial court’s denial of her motion to dismiss the indictment or at least suppress the test results from the TBI lab.

“She argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying her motion on the basis that Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-413(f), which gives the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation $250 for each DUI conviction that is obtained using a blood or breath test, is unconstitutional,” the appellate opinion stated. The court agreed and ruled the trial court should have tossed the blood test.

The state appealed the case to the Supreme Court. The outcome could affect a number of case throughout Tennessee.

Adams’ case was reset for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 13. Assistant District Attorney General Tessa Lunceford said if the Supreme Court ruling isn’t issued by that time, she will go ahead with the hearing for Adams. Scott said since it’s a felony charge against his client, the Criminal Court will decide what to do about the pending Decosimo ruling.

“The toxicology results showed she had a very low therapeutic dose of a prescription medication in her system ... there were no illegal drugs or alcohol,” Scott said after the brief appearance. “ I think the proof will show there was a medical condition that caused,” the situation.

Adams is free on bond while her case is pending. She is no longer a bus driver for the school system.

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