Vehicular Homicide Charge Dismissed In Chattanooga Death Of Prominent Knoxville Architect After TBI Lab Mixup

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A vehicular homicide charge involving the death of a prominent Knoxville architect on a Chattanooga roadway has been dismissed after a TBI lab mixup.

Dale Ferrell, 21, of Steen, Miss., had also been charged with DUI after his Toyota struck a motorcycle driven by 58-year-old Ed Bankston on I-75 near Lee Highway in March.

The two indictments were returned after a report from the TBI Crime Lab listed the blood-alcohol level of Ferrell at 0.24 - or "triple drunk" under the state standard of .08.

However, attorney Jerry Summers had the blood tested at an independent lab and it came back .01 - well below the drunk level.

DUI Prosecutor Kate Lavery said, based on that new evidence, both charges were dismissed.

She said Ferrell admitted speeding and being inattentive and distracted, but she indicated it is unlikely that he will face additional charges.

The two charges have already been expunged.

Prosecutor Lavery said the Ferrell blood was mixed up with that of another individual. She said the TBI lab is retesting all of the blood sampled by the agent involved, Kyle Bayer, but it is expected that this was the only mix-up.

Kristin Helm of the TBI said, "Bayer was suspended pending an internal investigation. We are waiting for the sample to be resubmitted to us to retest as part of our investigation. We do believe that it is an isolated incident and that if the established protocol for testing the samples had been followed, an error could not have occurred."

The incident happened on a Saturday at approximately 1:58 p.m. Chattanooga Police responded to a traffic crash in the 900 block of I-75.

Police said, "Evidence at the scene and witness statements found that a motorcycle driven by Mr. Bankston was southbound on the inside lane of traffic. A Toyota driven by Dale Ferrell was also in the inside lane and struck the rear of Mr. Bankston’s motorcycle causing him to lose control. Mr. Bankston was killed as a result of his injuries from the crash."


Man Injured In Drive-By Shooting On Judson Lane

A man was injured Monday night in a drive-by shooting on Judson Lane. At approximately 6:36 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the report of shots fired near the 2500 block of Judson Lane. During that investigation a person suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the right forearm arrived at a local hospital. ·          ... (click for more)

Collegedale Among Cities Fighting Coppinger Plan For Sharing Sales Tax

Collegedale officials said Monday they oppose an effort by County Mayor Jim Coppinger for the county to get a share of sales taxes with the municipalities. Mayor Katie Lamb said she attended a recent municipal meeting about shared sales taxes with the state of Tennessee. Of the 7 percent state sales tax collected by the state, 4.6 percent of 6 percent of the total is given ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)

NPSL Championship To Be Played In Chattanooga

It's Chattanooga FC taking on the New York Cosmos B for the National Premier Soccer League’s national championship and the Scenic City's Finley Stadium is the site Saturday, August 8 at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to a 9,000 plus crowd at Chattanooga's 3-0 semifinal win against the Indiana Fire, the Tennessee team broke the league’s previous record of 8,878, which was ... (click for more)

Jones Press Conference Kicks Off Vols' Preseason

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones held his preseason football press conference on Monday at Neyland Stadium. Jones heads into his third season with visible enthusiasm after the Vols finished off the 2014 season with an impressive win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, following that up with another nationally ranked recruiting class. "In terms of our football team, we ... (click for more)