Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas

Jeremiah 10 Christmas Cards

1: Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3: For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4: They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5: They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
6: Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
7: Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
8: But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
9: Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.
10: But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
11: Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
12: He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
13: When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
14: Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
15: They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
16: The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.
17: Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.
18: For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.
19: Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.
20: My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.
21: For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
22: Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.
23: O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
24: O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
25: Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

$14-Million Lawsuit Filed Against Killer Trucker on the Dragon

Truck driver Bobby Coleman didn't even get a traffic ticket for murdering Ike Woodard. This was the 2nd murder of a biker by a trucker on the Dragon. Slow rescue by Rural Metro Taxi Service was a contributing factor in Ike's death. Trucks are already banned in Blount County on Foothills Parkway and US441 in Sevier County.

"No one here will ever know the exact details of what happened, but the rear trailer wheels passed over Ike and his bike, and the trailer stopped clear of him after running him over, so it is possible that Ike stopped for the truck, and the truck wasn't able to stop in time for him."
-PZFZ1, ETR Forum

UPDATE: Blount grand jury declares open season for truckers to murder bikers on the Dragon

"The truck traveled 20-30 feet AFTER hitting, dragging and running over Ike and his bike, UPHILL. I haven't driven flatbeds, but I have hauled gas tankers. I can tell you, an empty tank weighs about the same as the trailer that killed Ike and is what I used to call a two door sports coupe. I could beat my buddy's Mitsubishi pick up off the line with one. Granted, his was a 4-banger 5 speed, but we're talking big rig versus pick-up. The truck that killed Ike was going speed limit or better. I assure you. It wasn't escorted because it was fairly early in the AM and I hadn't arrived yet (I was the first local that I was aware of there that day). I was on my first northbound pass of the day when I came up on the scene. One of his buddies was in shock and told me it was Ike. I spoke to Trooper Skeen about it and he said it didn't look good. They had diverted in the air to Blount Memorial. He was dead at that point. Assuming the family is suing out of greed is a little myopic as well. He has two minor daughters that deserve at least a benefit. He had medical bills that mounted even though his life wasn't spared. His mother has to deal with all of that sort of crap, too. A case like this will be settled out of court for a paltry sum. After she pays her shark of a lawyer, she won't see anywhere near $14 million. Get real."
-CreekDevil, ETR Forum

Family sues for $14.5M in fatality on ‘Dragon’

By Wes Wade
Maryville Daily Times

The family of a motorcyclist killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on “The Dragon” in August has filed a $14.5 million lawsuit in Blount County Circuit Court.

The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of several family members of 45-year-old Christiana resident Dwight Ross Woodard, who died the morning of Aug. 3 after a collision with a tractor-trailer driven by Bobby Frank Coleman, 47, of Nashville, Ga.

Coleman is named as a defendant in the suit along with his employer, the Blackshear, Ga.-based Thom’s Transport Company Inc.

The complaint alleges that Coleman violated several state statutes as his truck crossed into Woodard’s lane of travel, blocking both lanes of U.S. Highway 129 in a curve near Mile Marker 5. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Woodard was traveling southbound on his Triumph Triple Speed motorcycle when he struck the left side of the trailer as it crossed over into his lane.

Criminal charges have not been filed in the crash.

According to the complaint, Woodard remained conscious and alert until an ambulance arrived nearly an hour after the wreck, but died about 30 minutes later on his way to the hospital.

Those listed as plaintiffs in the suit include Woodard’s two daughters, ages 14 and 8, and Woodard’s mother, Patricia Thompson. They seek compensation for damages to include wrongful death, medical and funeral expenses and lost future earnings. A jury was requested to try the case.

Thom’s Transport Company Inc. declined to comment.

TDOT opposes ban

Several Nashville riders, including members of Woodard’s family, mounted a campaign shortly after the crash to persuade legislators to ban tractor-trailers longer than 30 feet from using the Dragon, an 11.1-mile stretch of U.S. 129 from Tabcat Creek to the North Carolina state line at Deals Gap.

But in a letter to U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. dated Oct. 19, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John C. Schroer said it was the department’s decision not to implement a ban on tractor-trailers from using the highway.

“It is our position that the economic impact of restricting tractor-trailers along this federally designated U.S. route would severely impact commerce, as there is no reasonable alternative route for commercial traffic in this vicinity,” Schroer wrote.

The commissioner added that TDOT provides enhanced safety advisories in regards to potentially dangerous roadways and that it is the responsibility of motorists to exercise a greater amount of caution when traveling winding mountain roads.

“We recognize that this was a tragic event,” Schroer continued. “However, we do not feel we can give priority to one group of motorists over another by restricting certain types of vehicles from U.S. 129.”

The letter also noted that TDOT, in conjunction with the motorcycle industry, had conducted a series of studies on the Dragon in 2008 to identify the root cause of severe crashes and to then implement safety improvements. In researching fatal crashes, the department said that during the last three years only one crash involved a collision between a motorcycle and tractor-trailer.

According to Schroer’s statement, the study found that speed in relation to negotiating curves on the Dragon was the major underlying issue related to severe crashes and fatalities. TDOT has since implemented a series of improvements along the corridor, including posting new signage and markings, paving pull-off areas and installing enhanced signage discouraging truck traffic from using the highway, the letter states.

TDOT records indicate that 17 motorcycle fatalities have occurred on the Dragon during the past six years.

see also:

Dragonater Archive: Trucker murders another biker on the Dragon

Court Says Dragon Speed Limit is 65 MPH - Critical info for winning a wrongful death case.

Biker Tickets Increase 11,400% on the Dragon - THP refuses to enforce ANY law against trucks on the Dragon

TDOT Report Bans All Biker Business on the Dragon - TDOT refuses to ban killer truacks on the Dragon, refuses to require flag vehicles for big trucks, refuses to enforce ANY current law against trucks on the Dragon

Deals Gap Dragon 'Dragstrip' - BCSO and THP refuse to enforce ANY law against trucks on the Dragon

ETR Forum posts

Dragonslayer down

RIP David Spotts, Dragon photographer. See you later.

David with Gap Yoda at the Overlook (june & july), photos by The Dragonater

photo by The Dragonater

Deals Gap Dragon on the Travel Channel

The Learning Channel does not teach countersteering at Deals Gap

America's Wildest Roads: Wet and Wild

Tornado Alley, The Dragon, the Overseas Highway and Route 4 ... these are just 4 of the roads featured in this special all about the wet and wild roads of the US.

Why the 55mph national speed limit was repealed

The NMA will pay your speeding ticket if you lose in court, even if you cover a cop car in poo

Repealing the 55 MPH Speed Limit

by Gail Morrison

In 1990, I first learned of the National Motorists Association (NMA) when I got a speeding ticket in Texas. I fought the ticket and was found guilty. I was naive in my belief that if I wasn’t guilty of the charges, I could go before the judge and explain that there was a misunderstanding and charges would be dropped.

I was amazed at how I had been treated in the court system. When I appealed the guilty verdict, it seemed to affect the people representing the system. Prior to the appeal the DA was pleasant and somewhat paternalistic. At the request of the judge, he explained to me the procedure and escorted me to the law library. There he advised me to just pay for the ticket and go my way. However, when the trial time came the DA went for the throat – mine! Well, I lost the appeal as well, and the fine went from $10 to $144 – but during that time, I learned what was happening to motorists all over these United States.

During my research to find how to change a system that is grossly unfair, I came across a book titled "How to Beat the Radar Rap" and through the publisher I was put in touch with Jim Baxter, President of NMA. And it was through this heroic organization that I found out that there is a method to setting speed limits and placing stop signs. About this same time I met a traffic engineer who gave me a book entitled, "National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (NCUTCD). This is where I first heard the term "the 85th percentile" it means that traffic engineers believe the speed limits should be set at 85% of the speed adopted by free flowing traffic. But, he told me his hands were tied – all decisions were political.

Many phone calls went back and forth to Mr. Baxter and soon he asked me to be the Texas State Chapter Coordinator. That seemed like too much responsibility but I agreed to be an area coordinator. But within a few months I was Texas State Chapter Coordinator with six area coordinators under me. I lived 130 miles from Austin and for two years, I burned up a lot of rubber. We were instrumental in having several laws passed, e.g., keeping the 70 mph’s speed limit, temporarily suspended, in effect, making it easy for Texas to raise its speed limit with the repeal of National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL). And we helped to defeat a law that would allow a judge to be fired if he didn’t collect enough traffic-fine revenue.

Every year, NMA would have a national coordinators meeting, and my colleagues urged that I be sent to Washington to bring about the repeal of the NMSL. But NMA had already retained a lobbyist in DC and he was supposed to be good. He did get a modification of the NMSL, a raise in speed limits to 65 mph in rural areas. But the hoped-for repeal of NMSL did not happen. Then in August 1994, Jim Baxter asked me if I move to Washington, D.C., and lobby for the repeal. I told Mr. Baxter: Yes, although repealing a law "cast in concrete" for 23 years seemed like an impossible dream.

On a trip back from the NMA national headquarters in Wisconsin, I drove through Washington, D.C., and met with the NMA lobbyist, who told me "you are not needed on this issue." He went on to tell me, "you cannot use my office, you cannot receive phone calls or mail, you cannot store anything." He leaned forward and said "you cannot even use the bathroom." I replied, "I guess I will have to find a place on the Hill." To which he said. "You won’t be able to afford it."

Leaving the restaurant and my new colleague, I walked around the block and stopped to talk with a woman working in her front yard. She said she was renovating an apartment, but that it wouldn’t be ready until December. I was delighted, as I would not be moving to the District until then, and I felt that an apartment on Capitol Hill would be ideal for office and living. I knew I would need to be close to the House and Senate offices.

I drove home and packed up my belonging, and loaded them into a 24’ Ryder truck. I got behind the wheel of a truck for the first time and drove alone, except for my dog and cat, to Washington. When I arrived, I was again awed by history of the area and by the importance of the Members of Congress. I felt small and insignificant by comparison.

Yet, I believed so strongly that the NMSL was a bad law, that I felt compelled to change it.

Fundamental to good law in America is the idea that the behavior of most people is reasonable. Laws are written to single out the unreasonable behavior of a minority.

Speed laws are based on the same ideas. Most people did not observe this law. It made criminals out of most motorists, leaving us with the dilemma of deciding if we should drive a safe speed or a legal speed.

But first I had to find someone to introduce a bill to repeal the National Maximum Speed Limits. As in all my work, the grassroots power of NMA activists all over the country was my secret weapon.

Scott Klugg, R-WI, introduced HR607 on January 20, 1995, but I felt it wouldn’t get the support it needed to pass. It read: A bill to amend title 23, United States Code, to eliminate penalties for noncompliance by States with requirements relating to the use of safety belts and motor cycle helmets, the national maximum speed limit, and the national minimum drinking age, and for other purposes. The reason I didn’t put NMA support behind this bill was: 1) I knew the motorcycle groups had strong, active lobbying efforts to get the repeal of the helmet law; 2) NMA membership is divided on the seat belt issue; the most important part was 3) The alcohol issue would not be popular.

Pat Roberts, R-KS, said that he would introduce a bill, but then reneged and suggested that he offer HR 1007, a bill to allow 65 mph in urbanized areas of 50,000 that could now only be posted at 55 mph. I quickly withdrew NMA support from this bill, believing this bill to be a mockery.

In January 1995, I visited the office of Larry Combest, R-TX.. I spoke with his Legislative Assistant, Lisa Elledge, who was handling transportation issues. She told me Larry offered a bill every year for – maybe for five or six years now, for a repeal of the NMSL. It was sort of an office joke she said, but he really wanted the repeal. I felt HR 427 was the bill to get behind and push it as hard as I could, and we worked well together.

The Surface Transportation subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure hearing for changes in the National Highway (NHS) was to be held on March 1, 1995. I had visited all the offices of the members of the subcommittee. I knew enough now to know that the leadership on both sides was against repealing NMSL. I also knew that the leadership for NHTSA, FHwA, insurance companies, and 144 safety groups were also against a repeal. I was told that "NMSL was cast in concrete – it had been in effect for 23 years, and would NEVER be repealed. . . ."

I knew that I needed something to break this mindset – but I didn’t know what.

At first I thought if I just visited the opposing members and talked logic to them that they would see the error of their ways – but I quickly realize the proverbial "My mind is made up – don’t confuse me with facts" mentality. Besides, time was running out. I needed a member of the House subcommittee to offer the amendment. Bill Brewster, D- OK agreed to offer it. This proved to be a blessing, as Norman Y. Mineta, D-CA, was going to call for party unity against the bill – and because Mr. Brewster had agreed to offer it and he was a Democrat, Mr. Mineta had to drop this idea.

I knew it would be helpful if I could get support from some of the leadership. Tom Petri, R-WI, was an ideal choice, as he represented the state with the headquarters of NMA and he was the chairman of the Surface Transportation committee.

The committee meeting was coming soon and I needed to find someone to give testimony at the subcommittee hearing. I first called Jim Baxter to come Washington and give it, but he suggested that I ask Martin Parker of Martin R. Parker & Associates, Inc., Wayne, Michigan. I then called Dr. Parker. He declined, saying that he would need his study in order to testify. The title of his study was "The Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits." He had been enlisted to conduct by the Office of Safety and Traffic Operations R&D, Federal Highway Administration (FhwA). I asked him where his study was? He told me that it was being review by the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

I started telephoning people and getting the proverbial run-around. I finally talked with Margarite, the secretary for Stephen Godwin, Director of Studies and Information.

She made me an appointment for that afternoon to visit with Mr. Godwin. The visit was disappointing as Mr. Godwin told me he had never heard of the study and maybe I didn’t have all my facts straight – nicely of course. I came home wondering in what to do next.

As I walked in through my front door, the phone was ringing. It was Margarite and she said that she had found the study and it was completed. She said she would send it over to me immediately. I then called Mr. Parker back and told him, and he said I could do whatever I wanted to with the study. But in the meantime he had made other plans and could not come to DC on the dates that I had asked about.

I made 10 copies of the full report and 535 of the commentary and summaries and I took them to all members of congress. Many members of congress started telephoning NHTSA and FHwA demanding to know where this study had been and why they hadn’t seen it when the Final Report was dated October 1992. This study was the turning point of the repeal.

Senator Don Nickles, R-OK and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell were the cosponsors of the repeal in the Senate. S-476. Time was running out, as the Transportation subcommittee would be meeting soon and if an amendment wasn’t offered, it would just not go anywhere. I had spoken with all the members, save one, Senator Lauch Faircloth. No one wanted to handle this "hot potato." I had called Senator Faircloth’s office numerous times, but couldn’t seem to get through to the person that handled the transportation issues. On Monday, May 1, I called – again- and a George Howard answered the phone. I told him who I was and that I wanted to schedule an appointment. There was a silence on the other end of the phone. Then, he said, "You just aren’t going to leave me alone until I talk to you, are you?"

I was taken aback, but I took a deep breath and as pleasantly as I could muster said, "No, I’m not. The subcommittee meeting will be on the third and I need to talk with you."

He sighed and replied "If you can be in my office in 20 minutes I will meet with you."

"Yessssss!" I said. I was in Mr. Howard’s office in 10 minutes. He listened to all I had to say about the repeal, and then without a word he turned and picked up the telephone and punched in some numbers. Then, he said into the receiver, "I have this woman in my office who thinks that we can get rid of the speed limits."

A few minutes later he turned back to me and said "We will think about it." Mr. Howard telephoned me Tuesday morning and told me that the Senator would file an amendment.

I thought that meant that he would offer the amendment in the subcommittee. I was delighted and I called all the subcommittee members’ offices and told them. That evening Mr.

Howard called me back and said that the Senator had changed his mind, and wouldn’t be offering the amendment. I exclaimed "NO! I called all the subcommittee members and told them that the Senator would offer it." Mr. Howard’s sounded flabbergasted, as he cried out "YOU DIDN’T?" I was disappointed and slightly confused as well. "I said quietly, ‘I did, I thought it was a done deal.’"

I was really low, but I thanked him for calling me and then told him "at least by telling me this evening, you won’t have to see a grown woman cry tomorrow during the subcommittee meeting."

I was as surprised as everyone else when Senator Faircloth offered the amendment and called for a voice vote. Five yeas, including the Senator from Nevada who told me the night before that he would vote nay, and three nays and one abstaining. It passed and everyone was congratulating me.

I sighed as I reflected, and wrote in my journal: Where else but in the USA could I discuss flowers with the congresswoman from NY and the congressman from ID, both living next door to me, then walk to the Senate Office building for a meeting on the speed limits. I have come a long way since I got that speeding ticket in Victoria, Texas.

Ah, little did I know that the battle was just beginning and it would be fought with the "big guns." I had been ignored by the opponents of State’s Rights and the idea that people are basically capable of making rational choices. But there was a lull and I basked in the victory.

My first inkling of what was to come, came on May 8. A press conference was held on the east lawn of the Capitol. The biggest foes of freedom from both sides of the aisle were the leadership of the Transportation committees in the House and the Senate. They were joined with NHTSA, FHWA, and the leadership of the Highway Patrol of both Maryland and Virginia. I came early to visit with people who would be attending, giving out bumper stickers "LET’S END THE HYPOCRISY: REPEAL 55" and lapel pins that were a red circle with a slash through 55. Imagine my delight when I noticed during the filming of the conference a bumper sticker across one video camera and a lapel pin on the jaunty cap of another cameraman.

I didn’t let up my efforts. I continued to visit the offices. In fact, I personally visited every office in the House – 435 to be exact and 100 in the Senate. During these 11 months I literally wore out four pairs of shoes.

Over the next six months I steadily visited congressional offices smiling, waiting, answering questions, and supplying information concerning the wisdom of supporting the repeal. Sometimes I felt holding the votes together was like trying to hold mercury.

First the National Highway Systems bill went through the Senate on June 20, 1995 and passed 65-35. When the repeal went for a vote in the House September 20, 1995, the vote was 419 yeas, 7 nays, and 8 not voting. The language wasn’t the same and it had to go into Appropriation which was very ominous as the repeal of NMSL could have been tabled and never voted on again. During this time I had tried to get an appointment with Ricardo Martinez, Director of NHTSA, but was repeatedly turned down. All is well that ends well, and a veto-proof bill was sent to President Clinton for his signature. November 28, 1995, was the end of the National Maximum Speed Limits.

NMA had done the impossible, and benefitted every motorist in America, and I was so proud to be part of it.

Blount deputy on trial for 2nd murder of wife

Alcoholic Blount County deputy Danny Brewer under arrest for shooting his nude wife, Jennifer L. Brewer, after the drunken ex-deputy spent a night fucking his bail bondsman. Deputy Brewer cost taxpayers a $5-million settlement after he murdered driver Jennifer Lowe Bean. Any relation to alleged alcoholic cokehead judge Brewer?

Homicide case against ex-Blount deputy sent to grand jury

By Lance Coleman
Knoxville News Sentinel
December 14, 2011

MARYVILLE, TENN. — The criminal homicide case against former Blount County sheriff's deputy Danny Brewer was bound over to a grand jury on Wednesday.

His $950,000 bond was kept in place.

General Sessions Judge Robert Gallegos ruled probable cause had been proven by Shari Taylor, assistant district attorney, that Brewer had killed his wife with a shotgun blast.

Defense attorney Tommy Hindman said the shooting was an accident.

Testimony from Blount County Sheriff's Office Detective J.T. Trentham that Brewer admitted to having an affair would not change his client's defense.

"It doesn't change our theory that what happened in that room is the only thing that matters," Hindman said.

Trentham was the only witness to testify in the hearing. He said Blount 911 emergency dispatchers were contacted at 11:19 a.m. on Sept. 8 about the shooting at Brewer's Sevier Avenue apartment in Blount County.

"When I got there, Mr. Brewer was in the front living room in a fetal position covered in blood," the detective said. "He was making a statement, 'It was an accident. The safety was on, it should not have happened."'

Trentham testified he then went back to the bedroom, where medical personnel were with Jennifer Brewer.

"There was a woman in bed totally nude with a shotgun wound to the chest, and there was blood on the bedding," he said.

A short time later, Brewer was interviewed by Trentham at the Blount County Sheriff's Office. The detective said during Wednesday's hearing that Brewer smelled of alcohol and told him he'd drank three or four beers.

"He was very distraught over the situation but he was coherent," Trentham said.

The detective said Brewer stated he had come home from work at 4:30 or 5 a.m. on Sept. 8, and his wife got up later to take their 3-year-old child to day care and returned home.

"She got back in bed. At some point there was sexual intercourse, then he got up to show her the shotgun he had purchased, and while this was going on, the shotgun discharged," Trentham testified.

In the middle of the interview, Trentham said he was notified Jennifer Brewer had died, and that was when Brewer admitted he had been with Pam Gregory, a bail bondswoman.

"He said this was the person he was with until 4:30 or 5 a.m., that he was employed by her as a bounty hunter and that they had been having a 10-year love affair," Trentham testified.

Hindman asked Trentham about the state's toxicology report that showed Danny Brewer had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 when he was interviewed. The legal definition of intoxication in drunk-driving cases is .08. Hindman asked the detective if he would've acted differently had he known how intoxicated Brewer was during the interview.

"I would have probably not (interviewed him) had I had the toxicology report in front of me," Trentham said.

Grand jury gets homicide case

By Austin Baird
Maryville Daily Times

A former Blount County law enforcement officer is a step closer to facing trial in the shooting death of his wife.

Danny Ray Brewer, 37, a former Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputy and Rockford police officer, had a preliminary hearing on criminal homicide charges Wednesday in Blount County General Sessions Court.

After hearing testimony, Judge Michael Gallegos sent the case to a grand jury to decide if the charges brought against Brewer warrant a trial.

The case will likely be heard on Jan. 9 or Feb. 16 when a grand jury convenes, though the date will depend upon the crowd of other cases working through the state’s docket.

The events surrounding the death of 29-year-old Jennifer Brewer on Sept. 8 remain unclear. However, Assistant District Attorney Shari Tayloe and Danny Brewer’s defense attorney, Tommy Hindman, each revealed information that could eventually decide the outcome of the case.

Detective testifies

Blount County Sheriff’s Office Detectives James Trentham and David Henderson are leading the investigation, the former being the first detective to arrive on the scene and the latter the detective who collected physical evidence for the case. The state called Trentham as its only witness at the hearing Wednesday.

Trentham, a detective of 10 years and an 18-year member of the Sheriff’s Office, testified that a couple of patrol officers and emergency responders were already on the scene when he arrived shortly before noon the day Jennifer Brewer died in the Maryville apartment she shared with her husband on Sevierville Road.

“I saw Mr. Brewer in the living room nude and covered in blood, curled up in the fetal position,” Trentham said at the hearing. “He was making statements like, ‘It was an accident, the safety was on, it shouldn’t have gone off.’”

When Trentham arrived, Jennifer Brewer was naked in their bed with a wound on the left side of her chest that was inflicted by a shotgun, he said. A couple of paramedics were attempting to save her, but she was declared dead that day at Blount Memorial Hospital.

Despite Danny Brewer’s claim that his wife’s death was an accident that happened when he was showing her a gun, Trentham testified the evidence doesn’t suggest an accidental shooting.

“My professional opinion is, yes, you have to take the totality of the case ... and there is information to conflict his story,” Trentham said.

High alcohol level

Two points of contention were raised: the amount of alcohol in Danny Brewer’s system and a purported decade-long affair between Brewer and his boss.

Trentham described Danny Brewer as “very distraught over the situation but coherent,” though he said he did smell alcohol on Brewer during an interview that took place the day of the shooting. He testified that Brewer admitted to having “three or four” drinks during that interview.

However, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation toxicology report measured Brewer’s blood alcohol content at 0.23. The legal limit to operate a vehicle in Tennessee is .08.

Trentham testified the blood sample was drawn by a jail nurse during a break in the interview nearly an hour after police were dispatched.

Hindman tried to stress the fact that Brewer was intoxicated during the interview.

“By no means was he crawling, stumbling or anything like that,” Trentham said of Brewer’s sobriety. But he conceded, when pressed by Hindman, that the interview probably should have waited until Brewer was of clearer mind. “I would have probably waited if I knew his (blood alcohol content).”

Even though Gallegos left open the possibility of a criminal homicide charge, he declined to set the level of the crime (first-degree murder, manslaughter, etc.) that Brewer will face. Gallegos instead deferred that responsibility to the grand jury.

“We want to get in front of the grand jury as soon as possible,” Hindman said. “After all of the facts come forward, the picture will become clearer.”

Until then, Brewer will remain in custody at Blount County Jail unless he can come up with enough cash to make the $950,000 bond required for his temporary release.

See also:

11-09-2011 - Former deputy charged in fatal shooting remains in custody
09-30-2011 - Preliminary hearing set in former deputy homicide case
Slaying suspect Brewer gets public defender
09-23-2011 - Garner appointed to represent Brewer in criminal homicide case
09-20-2011 - Hospital stay delays preliminary hearing for murder suspect
09-10-2011 - Husband charged in Thursday’s shooting death

09-12-2011 - Homicide suspect was police officer involved in fatal crash

Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded Thursday morning to the Sevier Avenue apartment complex where the couple lived in reference to a shooting. There they found 29-year-old Jennifer L. Brewer lying face up on a bed in the apartment at 11:19 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s Office report. The victim was bleeding from the left side of her chest.

Danny Brewer was also found in the apartment, naked, screaming and covered in blood. The report stated that deputies escorted the suspect from the room and recovered the gun believed to have been used in the shooting.

Danny Brewer was serving as a Rockford police officer on May 16, 2000, when he was involved in an accident that killed Jennifer Lowe Bean, 29, of Jackson Hills Drive, Maryville, according to a May 18, 2000, story in The Daily Times.

Brewer had been a Rockford officer for only two weeks after two years as a Blount County Sheriff’s Department deputy when he was on patrol in Rockford the night of May 16, 2000. At 9:10 p.m. he reportedly heard former co-worker Deputy Jim Stegall respond to a disturbance involving two men with knives at Meadow Valley Apartments on Wildwood Road near the Maryville city limits.

Brewer contacted Rockford Police Chief Robert Simerly from his location on Old Knoxville Highway between Four Corners Market and Pope’s Garden Center. Simerly told him to respond to back up the county officer in accordance with Rockford’s mutual aid agreement to assist other local law enforcement agencies.

According to the report, Brewer turned on his flashing red and blue lights, activated his siren, and started up Old Knoxville Highway toward Meadow Valley Apartments to back up Stegall. Meanwhile, Bean was traveling the same direction on Old Knoxville Highway.

Brewer apparently sped up on the straight stretch of highway after he rounded the curve at Williams Mill Road and Liscom Drive. A witness to the fatal collision said she pulled over to the right near Clayton Road to let the cruiser pass.

Ahead of her, she saw another car that was not pulling over. Bean was preparing to turn left off the highway onto Jackson Hills Drive. She was only four blocks from home.

According to the preliminary accident report, Brewer moved into the oncoming traffic lane, which was clear of vehicles, to pass the Bean car. The cruiser was never directly behind Bean’s Honda Accord as Brewer traveled in excess of the posted 45 mile per hour speed limit.

At some point, Bean activated her left turn signal. Then, she turned across the lane where Brewer was traveling, apparently unaware of his lights or siren.

Brewer braked as Bean turned left into his path and the front of his Jeep slammed into the driver’s side of Bean’s car.

The impact sent the Honda sliding several feet beyond the intersection, across a shallow roadside ditch and into a yard. The Rockford cruiser went over the curb at the end of Jackson Hills Drive and nosed down into the ditch.

Emergency responders attempted to resuscitate Bean but were unable to restore her heartbeat or breathing. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Blount Memorial Hospital.

Brewer was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for broken bones and other injuries.

Blount County slaying suspect is former police officer, deputy

By Hayes Hickman, Natalie Neysa Alund
Knoxville News Sentinel
September 12, 2011

A 37-year-old Blount County man charged in the shooting death of his wife last week is a former law enforcement officer, authorities said Monday.

Danny Ray Brewer, who is being held at the Blount County jail in lieu of $950,000 bond on a criminal homicide charge, served two separate stints with the Blount County Sheriff's Office, as well as the former Rockford Police Department, said Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission spokesman Christopher Garrett. The POST Commission certifies officers across the state.

Brewer was hired by the sheriff's office in July 1998, then resigned from his post there in April 2000, according to Garrett. In May of 2000, Brewer took a job with Rockford, but resigned in August of 2000 to return to work for the sheriffs's office.

He resigned from the sheriff's office again in July of 2002.

While serving as a Rockford officer, Brewer was involved in a crash that killed a 29-year-old Blount County woman in May 2000. Brewer was responding to a call for assistance from a sheriff's deputy in his police Jeep when he struck a car driven by Jennifer Lowe Bean.

Brewer was temporarily placed on administrative leave. The fatal crash resulted in a $5 million lawsuit, which was settled in 2003, a Blount County Circuit Court clerk said Monday. Specific terms of the settlement were not available Monday.

Blount deputies were called to Brewer's Sevier Avenue apartment Thursday, where they found Jennifer L. Brewer, 29, with a gunshot wound, according to a news release posted on the sheriff's website.

Jennifer Brewer was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Her husband, according to the news release, was taken into custody at the scene.

Sheriff James Berrong has refused to answer any future questions from the News Sentinel, referring all calls to his public information officer, Marian O'Briant, who has not returned repeated phone calls.

"I’ll burn your house down, set your dog on fire and there won’t be a member of your family left, do you understand me? I won’t hire it done, I will do it myself! Do you understand me?”
-Blount County sheriff James Berrong talking to his secretary in the Blount County Justice Center, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Nuchols v. Berrong, No. 04-5645, July 11, 2005