Mother Is Charged
As An Accessory For
Authorities In Case
BY KEN LITTLE
A General Sessions Court preliminary hearing scheduled Wednesday for Marcus W. Strong was continued to Oct. 3 by Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr.
Strong, 32, of 2960 Chuckey Pike, was driving a car July 19 that crashed into a utility pole on Chuckey Pike, killing 33-year-old passenger Kiley Ricker Shelton.
He is charged with driving under the influence-seventh offense and violation of the Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender Act.
The preliminary hearing was continued pending results of toxicology tests and a crash reconstruction by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which investigated the wreck.
Additional charges may be filed against Strong, Assistant District Attorney General Chal Thompson said in court.
"There is a lot of information gathering," Thompson said.
ALREADY SERVING 2 SENTENCES
Strong, wearing the gray-striped shirt and pants of a Greene County Detention Center inmate, looked haggard in court.
He entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him last month.
A $70,000 bond has been set on the habitual offender and DUI charges.
In addition to the fact that he still faces those two charges, and possibly other charges relating to the fatal crash on July 19, Strong has begun serving two consecutive jail tems for violation of probation.
Judge Bailey sentenced him on July 27 to two consecutive jail terms of 11 months, 29 days, at 75 percent service on each, for violation of probation.
MOTHER ALSO IN COURT
Wilma Strong, 61, Marcus Strong's mother, also appeared Wednesday in General Sessions Court.
She was charged after the wreck with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly hindering authorities attempting to take her son into custody.
Her preliminary hearing was also continued to Oct. 3.
Wilma Strong entered a not guilty plea to the charge at her arraignment last month. She is free on $10,000 bond.
"She's a very fine lady. She has not done anything wrong," family lawyer William Bell said outside the courtroom.
The wreck is a tragedy for everyone involved, Bell said.
In court on Wednesday, Bailey denied a motion by Bell to only count Marcus Strong's DUI convictions going back 10 years.
Under recently toughened DUI laws, Bailey ruled he can go back 20 years, which encompasses the time frame in which Strong was charged six previous times.
Strong's driving record shows two 2005 DUI convictions in Greene County, two 2003 DUI convictions in Washington County, and two DUI convictions in 2000 in Sevier County, according to one of the reports.
The pattern of DUI convictions resulted in Strong's designation on Jan. 6, 2006, as a Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender in Greene County Criminal Court. His license was revoked at the time of the crash.
'HIGH RATE OF SPEED'
The affidavits of complaint for Strong filed by Trooper Timothy Barnett after the July 19 wreck said Strong "was traveling at a high rate of speed" in a 1989 Ford Mustang "and lost control and hit a utility pole."
Strong did not suffer serious injuries.
While being taken to Johnson City Medical Center, he "had a strong odor of alcohol, and his eyes were bloodshot and he had slurred speech," the reports said.
Prosecutors are considering additional charges against Strong, Thompson said. One of those is vehicular homicide.
"We are awaiting investigative reports and toxicology results. As related to this defendant, other charges are under consideration," Cecil Mills Jr., assistant district attorney general, said last month.