Massey Must Serve 8-Year Sentence For Traffic Death Of Tracy O'Neal

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
John Westin Massey
John Westin Massey

A man whose car crossed the centerline on Middle Valley Road and killed the driver of another vehicle in August 2012 was led away Monday night to begin serving an eight-year prison sentence.

John Westin Massey, 30, earlier pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and DUI in the death of 46-year-old Tracy O'Neal. It was agreed at the time that the sentence would be eight years.

During a four and a half-hour hearing, Massey's attorney argued that he should serve 11 months and 29 days, then be on probation for the rest of the term.

DUI Prosecutor Kate Lavery urged that he serve the full sentence in the state prison.

Massey was taken into custody after Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman decided that he should serve the full sentence.

There were a number of witnesses on both sides.

Prosecutor Lavery said, "Tracy O'Neal was a very beloved family man. I can't tell you the number of people who contacted me and said what a positive impression he made on them."

She added, "He left a wife and two young children."

She said the victim was a talented pool player and that night was coming back from a practice session. She said he was the team captain of Pocket Change out of Doublehill Billiards in Hixson and was scheduled to be in a competition in Las Vegas the next week.

Ms. Lavery said Massey registered a .12 blood alcohol content at 1 a.m. after the 11:30 p.m. crash. She said he also had a high level of Ambien, which makes a person sleepy.

She said he was talking on his cell phone with a friend on the curvy Middle Valley Road as his vehicle approached the O'Neal 2008 Ford Focus. Massey's 1998 Ford F250 veered across the centerline and struck the Focus.

Ms. Lavery said the friend said during the phone conversation that Massey appeared more and more incoherent and the friend asked, "Have you been drinking?" Then there was the sound of a crash.

Massey said he had consumed 32 ounces of wine and taken two Ambiens that night.

He made a statement at the hearing, telling the O'Neal family that he is very remorseful.

Ms. Lavery said, "My fondest wish is that we would never have to go through one of these hearings again. A DUI death is so devastating to both sides."  


TDOT Road Report For Region 2

Here is the latest weather-related information for the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Region 2 area, including  District 27 (Cookeville and Crossville),  District 28 (Dunlap and Tullahoma), and  District 29 (Chattanooga). Thursday, 10:26 a.m.  Please monitor the TDOT SmartWay website for updated information on roadway conditions at  ... (click for more)

Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills

Here are the latest no bills and true bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: JACKSON JR, WILLIAM LAWRENCE B 31 M 0 1 GS 1552713 POSS OF COCAINE FOR RESALE JACKSON JR, WILLIAM LAWRENCE B 31 M 0 2 GS 1552715 POSS OF MARIJUANA FOR RESALE JACKSON JR, WILLIAM LAWRENCE B 31 M 0 3 GS 1552716 POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE JACKSON JR, WILLIAM LAWRENCE B 31 ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)

TSSAA State Tournament Games Postponed Due To Weather

All TSSAA state basketball tournament games scheduled for today have been postponed due to extremely hazardous road conditions.  Today’s schedule will resume tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. in order to allow extra time to for road conditions to improve in the morning.   Friday’s scheduled semifinal games will be played on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. due ... (click for more)

Chattanooga To Host National Amateur Soccer Championships

US Soccer and US Adult Soccer announced this week that Chattanooga's Finley Stadium will host the 2015 National Amateur Championships on May 29-30. There will be one team each from the four top amateur leagues; the National Premier Soccer League, the United Soccer League's Premier Development League and the US Amateur Soccer Association's Open and Amateur Champions.  ... (click for more)