Drugged driving fatal wreck results in eight-year sentence for teen

Jeff Bobo • Feb 24, 2014 at 3:56 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County teen was sentenced to eight years Friday in connection with a fatal 2012 “drugged driving” wreck in which a 17-year-old lost his life.

A blood test taken shortly after the crash indicated that Justin Dillard Sensabaugh, 19, 205 Jones Road, Church Hill, had bath salts, marijuana and Xanax in his system at the time of the wreck.

Sensabaugh pleaded guilty Friday to one count of vehicular homicide, a Class B felony, in Hawkins County Criminal Court.

Aside from the eight year sentence, Judge John Dugger fined Sensabaugh $1,500, and suspended his driver’s license for six years.

The single-vehicle crash occurred the night of Feb. 12, 2012 near 909 N. Central Ave. in Church Hill.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Sensabaugh was driving a 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse northbound when the vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway and struck a tree.

Sensabaugh and his passenger, Jackson Wayne Lawson, 17, of Church Hill, were able to crawl from the vehicle, which was fully engulfed in flames when rescuers arrived on the scene, according to the THP.

Lawson was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport and pronounced dead. Sensabaugh was listed in critical condition at HVMC following the wreck but recovered.

The THP report indicated the Mitsubishi was traveling in excess of the posted 45 mph speed limit when it crossed the center line.

Sensabaugh will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence.

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