Dustin’s Law Placed Back On The Bradley County Commission Voting Agenda

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley

During the Bradley County Commission work session meeting Monday evening, Commissioner Robert Rominger placed a resolution to request that Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly support the passage of Dustin’s Law relative to aggravated vehicular assault on the next voting agenda. The resolution had been placed once before on a voting agenda but was pulled.

During a meeting in late January, Captain W.G. Campbell with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Officer explained more about the bill.

Capt. Campbell said, “This is a good bill. Dustin’s Law is long overdue. The law we have now states if you get behind the wheel intoxicated and kill someone, you are guilty of vehicular homicide. This bill would change and enhance the existing bill to aggravated vehicular homicide. Right now, you have to have a prior conviction of DUI for it to be aggravated. I don’t think that’s right. This particular young lady in Dustin’s case blew a .24 and had meth in her system driving the wrong way on APD-40. If that’s not aggravated, I don’t know what is.”

“This bill would change that where you don’t have to have that prior, to if you have a concentration level of .20 or higher or .08 or higher with meth in your system and as a result of that you crash and kill someone, you would be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. Basically, it doubles your time in prison. The current bill for vehicular homicide is 8 to 12 years. The next time someone gets behind the wheel that is double drunk they would have to spend double time.”

“Last year 23 lives were lost in Bradley County in traffic accidents, of which three were alcohol related. In the last six years, 89 lives were lost, 24 of those were in alcohol related accidents. We need to stand up as a community and say we’ve had enough.”

In other business, Commissioner Charlotte Peak Jones mentioned a constituent in her district, owner of the Grocery and Tobacco Outlet on Highway 64, requested the current setback of 750 feet of selling beer from church or school be decreased or done away with. Commissioner Rominger stated he would rather see it go back to 1000 feet like it once was than to decrease it.

Commissioner Mel Griffith said the restriction is a matter of state law. He is not opposed to decreasing the 750 feet requirement. The issue will be brought back up during a future meeting.

Environmental Officer Joe Renner addressed the commission regarding two dilapidated properties located at 124 Orr Road and 134 Orr Road in Bradley County. Mr. Renner said, “We need to take action on these properties as quickly as possible. I believe they are a safety concern to residents.”

He explained, “The property taxes are paid up through 2011 at 124 Orr Road. They were last paid by Citi Bank. I have sent notice to the bank in which they sent a response stating that they no longer hold any interest in the property. As of today, property taxes owed are $87. I was able to receive an approximate quote of $4,500 to demolish and remove the structure. The last assessment value through the tax assessor’s office was $15,800.”

Referring to the other property he said, “The taxes have not been paid on this property since 2007. This parcel will be sold in a tax sale July of 2013. The total amount of taxes owed is $1,031. The last assessment value through the tax assessor’s office was $13,500. I was able to also receive an approximate quote of $4,500 to demolish the mobile home and remove debris from the property.”

The commission requested to get more bids for the cost of getting rid of both properties.

The Bradley County Commission will hold its next voting session meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.

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