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Local News

Bank CEO cited in Kingsport hit and run

January 19th, 2012 2:52 pm by Rain Smith

The president of a local chain of banks has been cited for leaving the scene of a Kingsport crash — more than a month after his Chevy Tahoe allegedly rear-ended, and totaled, a Ford Mustang on East Stone Drive.

An incident report from Kingsport police says Douglas Edward Rehm, 42, visited the Justice Center Wednesday, accompanied by attorney Rick Spivey. Rehm, the President and CEO of Citizen's Bank of East Tennessee, was issued a misdemeanor citation and released.

Citizens Bank of East Tennessee, based in Rogersville, is not affiliated with Citizens Bank of the Tri-Cities, operating out of Elizabethton.

A police report says Rehm was contacted numerous times since the mid-December crash. He allegedly refused to speak to officers about the incident, saying he had hired Spivey as his attorney. The report adds it took "several phone calls" to Spivey from police before he agreed to bring Rehm to the department.

The wreck occurred Dec. 15 at 11:50 p.m. A 1994 Ford Mustang was traveling east on East Stone Drive, near the overpass of John B. Dennis Highway, when struck from behind by a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe.  

On Thursday morning the driver of the Mustang, Clinton Michael Larkins, 19, spoke to the Times-News. He said he had pulled away from a traffic signal which had turned from red to green, estimating his speed at 30 mph when hit on the rear of the driver's side.

"He was probably doing about 70," Larkins said of the other vehicle involved. Though he only suffered bumps and bruises in the wreck, he says his Mustang was totaled.

An officer responding to the crash reports searching the area for a vehicle matching the hit and run SUV. In the parking lot of nearby Brandy Mill Apartments, 2416 East Stone Drive, he spotted a Chevrolet Tahoe with heavy damage to the front passenger side. The accident report identifies the SUV as being owned by Citizen's Bank of East Tennessee in Rogersville.

The vehicle, parked near the 800 building of Brandy Mill, was reportedly unoccupied and unlocked. The officer states he checked the vehicle for information that could identify a possible driver, finding paperwork for a Douglas Rehm of apartment 800 J.

Knocks on the door were not answered, according to the report, with police then attempting to contact Rehm by phone. It was not until Dec. 20, five days after the crash, that police phone calls to Rehm were answered.

"Rehm stated he had hired attorney Rick Spivey and would not speak to me about this accident," reads the report. "After several phone calls to Spivey he agreed to bring Rehm to the Justice Center."

The misdemeanor citation issued to Rehm lists his employer as Citizens Bank of East Tennessee. Rehm's profile on business networking Web site LinkedIn says he has served as President and CEO since July of 2010. The bank's main office is located in Rogersville with additional locations in Church Hill and Sneedville.

As for the Rehm avoiding serious charges in the incident, Kingsport Police Deputy Chief David Quillin said he couldn't discuss specifics of a pending case.

Speaking in general terms, he said each incident encountered by officers are taken on a case-by-case basis.

"It's the officer's discretion, and there are different avenues to address those things," Quillin said. "From a physical arrest to a criminal summons, or in this case a misdemeanor citation in lieu of arrest."

It's not uncommon for an individual to be cited days or weeks after an incident occurred, according to Quillin, as the timeline is dictated by the circumstances and findings of an investigation.

Quillin added that police have a variety of investigation methods at their disposal, including inspecting a car involved in a crash. He said it was reasonable for the officer to review paperwork inside the crashed, unlocked and unoccupied Tahoe, using the findings to tab Rehm as the driver.

"We have an obligation and duty to investigate crimes, incidents and accidents," said Quillin.

As of Thursday afternoon Rehm had not returned multiple calls and messages from the Times-News seeking comment.

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