Woman Who Took Truck Driver's Blood At Tragic Wreck Scene: "It Was Like Nothing Had Happened"

Monday, January 22, 2018

The woman who took a blood draw from a Kentucky truck driver who had just wrecked and claimed six lives said, "I was thrown by his demeanor. It was like nothing had happened."

Lisa Martin told a jury from Nashville on Monday afternoon that Benjamin Scott Brewer kept asking when he could go home.

Brewer was eventually allowed to leave, but was later charged and is facing trial on six counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication. He is also charged with DUI, speeding and four counts of reckless aggravated assault.

Ms. Martin said she was awakened by her husband, Chattanooga Police Sgt. Gary Martin, not long after the wreck near the Ooltewah exit of I-75. He told her "it was a very bad scene with some children fatalities."

She said they sped to the scene with the blue lights on. "We were running hot."

Ms. Martin said when they arrived she saw "horrific devastation." She said all the victims were still in place as she got out of the police car. By the time she had gone back to the car to get her medical bag, the victims had been covered in sheets.

She proceeded on to "almost a semi-circle" of demolished vehicles, with several turned around in the opposite direction they had been traveling.

She said, "It was a lot to take in - very devastating. There was debris, fire extinguishers, tires, glass, bandages, blood, glass. I finally made it to the trooper's car."

Ms. Martin found Brewer sitting in the back of the patrol car with his legs extending out. She said he agreed to the blood draw, then she went in front of the vehicle so the procedure could be captured on camera.

She said after it was over, he said, "What's done is done. Can I go home?"

She stated, "Again I was in shock at the way he was acting."

The jury heard from four victims who survived the wreck but were left with debilitating injuries.

Nancy Stanley said she and her husband were passing through from Braxton, Mo., to meet their son and his family in Gatlinburg. She was on her phone when her husband told her, "We're about to get hit."

Then she said, "I remember him saying 'We're on fire. Get out."

Ms. Stanley said she still has a knot on her side from the ordeal.

John Stanley told the jury, "I heard a racket and saw a vehicle coming this way. I said, 'We're about to be hit.' As soon as I said hit, it was over."

He said the impact broke both seats and left them on their backs staring at the ceiling. It was then he spotted fire and told his wife to get out. He said his back was badly hurt by the crash and his wife slumped to the ground after crawling out. He said he was able to get her to one side with the aid of another man.

Mr. Stanley said his legs still ache from the incident.

He said the couple spent a night at Erlanger Hospital, then their son picked them up and took them back to Missouri.

Ryan Humphries, of Cleveland, Tn., said he was in the line of traffic in his red F150 Ford truck.

He said all he remembers of the incident is waking up in an ambulance. He said, "I didn't know what was going on. It left me foggy, blurry." He had a muscle detached in his arm and a shattered elbow. His worst injury was a badly burned heel that required two skin grafts. Then he was placed in a wound vac, "which I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy." He was in the hospital for a week, then had six surgeries on the heel. 

Justin Knox of Knoxville, a General Motors area representative, also has no memory of the crash. He said he woke up to see his son and a trauma nurse he happened to know.

He told the jury of the wreck, "I don't remember anything at all about it."

He said he had a pretty severe concussion and a brain bleed. But he soon returned to his old job.

However, he said he is a much more cautious driver than before, staying many car lengths back from traffic.

He said since then he has had two serious falls that cracked his head, including one on the first anniversary of the wreck.

Traffic Officer Tommy Seiter said he was at the hospital checking on the condition of a motorcyclist seriously hurt in an accident that day when he began hearing radio traffic about a huge wreck. He hurried to the scene and arrived at 7:37. The wreck happened at 7:09.

He found Brewer in the back seat of the patrol car. He said he was "a little agitated," but he agreed to make a written statement and then given a taped account of what happened.

In the written statement, Brewer said he saw the cars with their brake lights and he tried to stop, but couldn't.

In the oral statement, he told of taking the load to Hanes City, Fla. He said he and his girlfriend had a 12-hour layover at Jasper, Fla., before starting out early the morning of the wreck.

He denied he had taken anything illegal.

Brewer, who was 39 at the time of the wreck, said he had been driving trucks since he was 21. It was his first outing for the Cool Runnings firm.

He claimed he had tried to stop from hitting the line of vehicles.

Near the end of the brief interview he asked, "Is this about over?"

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