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Church Hill man turns himself in to face vehicular homicide charge

Jeff Bobo • Feb 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — A Church Hill man who was named in a sealed Hawkins County grand jury indictment charging him with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault earlier this month turned himself in to Mount Carmel police Monday morning.

David Bruce Roberts, 34, 817 Waycross Road, Church Hill, hadn’t been considered a fugitive since the sealed indictment arrest warrant was issued on Feb. 1. Lt. Kevin Ewing with the Mount Carmel Police Department said Roberts was apparently staying in Scott County recently, where police didn’t know where to find him, and upon learning he was wanted he turned himself in.

Roberts is accused of being under the influence of prescription drugs in the Aug. 4, 2007, two-car accident that took the life of Francis A. Taylor, 72, and seriously injured her son, Christopher A. Taylor, 44, of Gate City.

According to reports, Roberts was driving alone westbound on Carters Valley Road in a 1993 Buick Park Avenue when he allegedly crossed the center line near the Big Elm Road intersection.

Christopher Taylor was driving a 2000 Suzuki Grand Vitara eastbound, which was struck head on by Roberts’ car. Francis Taylor was the lone passenger in the Suzuki and was killed in the wreck.

A toxicology test of Roberts allegedly revealed him to be under the influence of prescription medication, although the exact levels and type of medication were not released.

“Mr. Roberts did have some very high levels of prescription medication in his blood,” said Ewing, who investigated that accident. “There’s no proof or allegation that he was abusing the drugs, but the state’s contention was his impairment on those drugs caused the accident. They were all legitimate prescription medications.

“The physical evidence shows that he (Roberts) did cross the center line, and our accident reconstruction showed that he was traveling 76 mph in a 45 mph zone. We probably had enough to make an arrest at the time of the accident, but we wanted to wait on the toxicology results from the crime lab, and to finish our reconstruction.”

Roberts remained lodged in the Hawkins County Jail Tuesday evening on $100,000 bond.

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