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."  


Top Hamilton County Salaries

Here are the top salaries for Hamilton County: METCALFE, JAMES K MEDCIAL EXAMINER $186,175 ... (click for more)

Top City Of Chattanooga Salaries

Here are the top salaries for the city of Chattanooga: Bean, Russell J       City Judge        $170,537.41 Paty, Sherry B City Judge        $170,537.41 Berke, Andrew L.        Mayor  $161,030 Fletcher, Frederick Allen Police Chief     ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Man’ To Leave Marines

There are some institutions in the history of America that should be above the nauseating “political correctness” that is undermining America. One of the biggest is most certainly the United States Marine Corps. But Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has apparently and most unfortunately gone soft and the word is that in the coming days about 25 words that are primary to the Corps ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Whips Dalton For Top Spot In Blue

The Signal Mountain Green Giants have the upper hand in the Chattanooga Area Swim League’s highly-competitive Blue division and the clinched at least a tie for first place with Thursday’s win over Dalton, but they’ll have to wait until Tuesday before the championship celebration can officially begin. The Green Giants lost to Dalton by 15 points at Dalton in the first week of ... (click for more)

Travis Hale New Softball Coach At Soddy-Daisy

Travis Hale, who spent one year under Wes Skiles being groomed for the job, has been named the new softball coach at Soddy-Daisy High School. Hale, who previously was an assistant coach at Hixson and head coach at Loftis Middle School, was groomed for the job last season working under coach Wes Skiles, who has stepped down after four seasons. “I focused on paying ... (click for more)