Lenoir City man charged in fatal Topside Road crash

Wes Wade thedailytimes.net

A Lenoir City man who was reportedly impaired and at fault during a March 23 Topside Road crash that left a Maryville woman dead was arrested Wednesday and appeared in court Thursday to face a charge of vehicular homicide.
Chad Eric Sheffer, 41, was arrested Wednesday following his release from the University of Tennessee Medical Center and booked into the Blount County Jail on $50,000 bond.
He appeared Thursday afternoon before Blount County General Sessions Judge William R. Brewer Jr. for an arraignment hearing. Brewer appointed the Blount County Public Defender’s Office to represent Sheffer, who told the judge he was unable to make bond.
After some discussion with Sheffer, who came and left the courtroom with a walker, Assistant Public Defender George Waters requested his client be fitted with a GPS monitoring device and released.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney General J. Scott Stuart said if Sheffer were released, the state wanted him fitted with a transdermal alcohol-monitoring device in addition to the GPS monitor.
“The state believes the bond is appropriately set,” Stuart said. “We do understand there’s some medical issues.”
Waters said Sheffer would agree to both GSP and alcohol monitoring.
Brewer said he would consider reducing bond, but Sheffer would need both monitoring devices in place beforehand.
“I’ll consider reducing the monetary amount of bond,” Brewer said. “Because of the nature of the charge, I think the statute requires the SCRAM (alcohol- monitoring) device. And I’m certainly going to require the GPS monitoring device, also.”
Brewer said the alcohol-monitoring device could be attached immediately, but the GPS device required up-front payment of at least a month’s worth of monitoring fees. He reset the case until Monday afternoon to give Sheffer an opportunity to address those costs.
Waters said if they could take care of that before Monday, he would inform Stuart and the judge of that development.
Sheffer had been at UT Medical Center since a March 23 crash in which police said he crossed the center line on Topside Road near West Old Topside Road and collided head-on with another vehicle.
The driver of that other vehicle, 28-year-old Maryville resident Kristy M. Strickland, died in the crash, police said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol, which investigated the crash, said Sheffer had been drinking.
The passenger in Strickland’s vehicle, Thomas L. Daniele, 25, Maryville, was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, where hospital staff said he was treated and released. Police said he and Strickland were wearing seat belts, while Sheffer was not.