After three years and over 200 hours of time involving investigations, interviews, evidence collection, processing, court time, filing and meeting with the district attorney, Monroe County wildlife officer Kip Kite was satisfied to see the conclusion of an atypical case involving three charged in a 2015 boating incident that took one life.
Holly Cassandra Wall of Tellico Plains, as part of a plea bargain, pled guilty to reckless homicide in Monroe County criminal court on Jan. 22. Ms. Wall was sentenced to 180 days in the Bradley County Jail and two years of supervised probation for her part in the 2015 Tellico Lake boating incident that resulted in the death of Evelyn Katrina Spurling from, Englewood, McMinn County.
Others indicted in the case included Aimee Lynn Messmer of Madisonville. Ms. Messmer originally brought up on charges including tampering with evidence, false reporting and two counts of accessory after the fact, reached a plea bargain and pled guilty to tampering with evidence in Monroe County criminal court in April of 2017. Joseph Perry Wall, from Vonore, was charged with vehicular homicide, driver intoxication. As part of a plea bargain, Wall pled guilty in December of 2016 to vehicular homicide, driver intoxication and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The boating incident involved a 10-foot personal watercraft carrying Spurling and operated by Holly Cassandra Wall. The second vessel was an eighteen and a half foot open bow vessel carrying Aimee Messmer along with five other passengers, operated by Ms. Wall. After consenting to blood tests, Ms. Wall’s blood alcohol content was found at .204 percent, more than twice the legal limit. Ms. Wall tested negative for alcohol, but 113ng/ml of Alprazolam was discovered in her blood.
“Wildlife officer Kite’s thoroughness of investigation, interviews, case management and his willingness to work with the district attorney to successfully prosecute such cases lead to a successful outcome,” said TWRA Captain Matt Majors. “This was a unique case in that all charges filed were felonious and both vessel operators were charged and convicted.”
TWRA officers patrolling Tennessee’s waterways send a firm reminder that operating a boat under the influence can be deadly. TWRA officers will investigate and work towards successful prosecution for these types of serious and potentially dangerous violations.
For more information on boating in Tennessee, visit tnwildlife.org.