When Johnson City police found a man slumped over his steering wheel with his car against a tree, they initially thought it was a crash with injuries.
But the Aug. 26, 2020, call was recently determined to be a drug overdose and the driver, identified as Austin Britton, 22, had slowly veered off the road into the tree.
Police said Tuesday that a Washington County grand jury indicted Micah Bradley, 29, 241 W. Main St., Johnson City, on Jan. 7 on a second-degree murder charge. He was already in jail on an unrelated charge, so the warrant was served on him there.
The first officer on scene, Hannah Farmer, found Britton slumped over his steering wheel with the ignition keys in his lap and immediately pulled him out and began CPR. Britton, however, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a Johnson City Police Department incident report, Officer David Smith noted the car was southbound on Cherokee Road when it went off the left side and rolled into a tree.
The impact caused minimal damage to the outside of the vehicle and no damage inside.
“The contact with the tree was at a very low rate of speed as if the car rolled into the tree,” Smith wrote in his report. “The tire tracks also revealed that the vehicle had been put into reverse and attempted to back out after the impact with the tree.”
He said evidence at the scene suggested it was not a traffic fatality. The investigation ultimately revealed Britton had a deadly amount of fentanyl in his system, which investigators said caused his death.
Investigators said they determined Bradley had provided the drugs that killed Britton.
Bradley was scheduled for arraignment in Washington County Criminal Court on Feb. 1.