Wrong way driver who caused 11-W crash facing several charges

Jeff Bobo • Jan 16, 2018 at 8:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — A Morristown man accused of causing a head-on collision Monday night in Church Hill while driving drunk in the wrong lane of Highway 11-W is facing numerous charges including reckless aggravated assault.

The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m.  when a 2008 Hyundai Tiburon driven by Nicholas Ray Gross reportedly pulled out of a market in Surgoinsville driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes of 11-W.

The crash occurred in front of Volunteer High School.

Gross, 38, 188 Delta Drive, allegedly struck a westbound vehicle occupied by Whitney and Hunter Arnold almost head-on.

A westbound Honda driven by Pam Clifton then struck Gross’ vehicle as it was spinning.

Clifton was transported to Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center via Hawkins County EMS for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Gross, whose car came to rest near the Tipton Avenue intersection, reportedly fled on foot in the direction of the high school.

A witness pointed out Gross’ location to police in the backyard of a residence on Volunteer Street.

CHPD Officer Kevin Grigsby stated in his report that Gross appeared to be under the influence, had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and was very unsteady on his feet.

Upon being informed he was under arrest, Gross allegedly refused to allow himself to be handcuffed, claiming he needed to make a phone call and saying he was not going to be arrested.

Police eventually had to wrestle him to the ground and use a Taser twice to take him into custody.

Gross initially gave a false name, but he did give his correct date of birth and Social Security number. Police were able to identify him and determined his driver’s license is revoked for a 2011 DUI conviction in Sevier County.

Police also located a stainless steel cup containing an alcoholic beverage in Gross’ vehicle.

Gross refused to submit to a blood test, but a search warrant was obtained from Judge J. Todd Ross, and a sample of Gross’ blood was taken.

Whitney Arnold told the Times News at the scene Monday night she “... thought we were dead” when she saw headlights coming straight at her.

“We were heading home and he was coming up the wrong side of the highway,” Arnold said. “He hit us, then another car hit us on the side and spun us around, and there we lay. It was awful. I thought we were dead. I thought we were about to die. I honestly did.”

Aside from reckless aggravated assault, Gross was charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment, DUI second offense, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, resisting arrest, criminal impersonation, driving on a revoked license and violation of the open container law.

As of Tuesday, he remained held in the Hawkins County Jail with no bond pending arraignment Wednesday morning.


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