Case Against Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Dismissed After Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The road rage case against a Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor was dismissed on Wednesday after a judge on Monday had sent the case to the Grand Jury.

An order was issued on Wednesday signed by District Attorney Neal Pinkston and attorney Lee Davis that "no billed" the aggravated assault charge against 47-year-old Timothy Lee Hodges.

Attorney Davis said, "Following a hearing in sessions court, the matter was dismissed by an agreed order. This concludes the case."

In a hearing in General Sessions Court, Hodges denied having a gun in the run-in with a 17-year-old girl at Northgate Mall, but Judge Gary Starnes bound the case over.

The judge said,"It's a very close issue. It's he said, she said. I don't think it's going to get out of the Grand Jury, but I am going to find there is probable cause."

The girl testified that Hodges waved a gun at her and said, "You messed with the wrong person." She said he did not point it at her.

Hodges said he was not carrying a gun because he had been to school that day and does not bring one on campus. He said he had gone to the mall to exchange a pair of tennis shoes while waiting for his daughter to finish volleyball practice. He said he was trying to take a picture of the girl with his cell phone and that is what she saw. 

The girl, who has turned 18 since the Aug. 13 incident and is in college, said she encountered a pickup truck near Starbucks. She admitted that she cut the other driver off, flipped him off and cursed at him after he blew his horn at her.

She said she then drove elsewhere in the large mall parking lot and he began following her "right on my tail." She said when she stopped at a stop sign that he got close behind her and laid on his horn. She said he then drove up beside her and displayed a black and silver pistol.

She said she then drove behind the truck a couple of times to try to get the tag number. She was able to remember four of the numbers and that the tag was white with a gold symbol. Then he left.

She said, "Really I was annoyed. I was upset that this had gone as far as it did."

The girl said she then called her father, who told her to "call the cops." She said her family knows Sgt. Jason Wood and he got on the phone with her.

Sgt. Wood said he got a call from the father from overseas. He said the father was "frantic." He said he drove to Northgate and found the girl "was visibly upset. She had been crying a little bit." He said he followed her home.

He said he used the partial tag information she gave to trace the vehicle to Hodges. She said the girl then picked his picture out of a photo lineup.

Sgt. Wood said he never interviewed Hodges to get his side, saying he "got flak" on doing so.

Hodges, who said he was with the Army for 22 years including two combat tours, said the girl came driving up fast and almost hit him. He said she would have had he not blown his horn. He said she then gave him the finger and yelled at him with expletives. 

He said he afterward went in the same direction she was going because that was where he was to return the shoes. He said as he got closer to her vehicle that she slammed on her brakes and again flipped him off.

Attorney Lee Davis said it was "50/50" evidence and the judge should "end the case right here." He said the matter "has put his job on hold." He said Soddy Daisy High principal Steve Henry was in the courtroom in support of the instructor, who has been at the school for eight and a half years.

Prosecutor Rachel Ortwein said there was enough to tip the balance to send the case to a jury. She said the fact that Hodges has a gun carry permit indicates he may have had a gun. She said it was improbable "that an Army veteran of 22 years with two combat tours would be afraid of a 17-year-old girl."

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