James. A Nichols
A 64-year-old Chattanoogan was arrested for vehicular assault in a multi-vehicle accident on Suck Creek Road on Dec. 4.
James A. Nichols, 64, of 3212 Blackhawk Trail faces multiple charges.
Officers responded to an accident involving two vehicles at 10:43 p.m. at 1201 Suck Creek Road. While en route, police were informed a white male in a Buick, Nichols, was refusing to get out of his vehicle, which was involved in the crash. Police then received a call that Nichols was now backing up and driving forward, effectively ramming another involved vehicle in an attempt to get away from the scene.
Police arrived to find Nichols' white Buick Rendezvous had again left the roadway and smashed through a chain link fence.
Officers detained Nichols, noting there was a strong odor of an intoxicant coming from him and he was incoherent and unsteady on his feet.
EMS on scene advised that Nichols would need stitches for an injury. Since Nichols was already in handcuffs and was considered a flight risk, police transported him to the hospital in their vehicle, which was approved by EMS personnel.
Once at the hospital, police observed Nichols had a 25 mg Fentanyl patch on his left chest. Police also found Nichols to have previous DUI arrests in Tennessee.
Upon further investigation of the accident scene on Suck Creek Road and witness statements, it was determined that Nichols was traveling northeast on Suck Creek Road and crossed the center line into the lane of an oncoming car. The vehicle made an attempt to avoid a head-on collision by merging into the southwest bound lanes. Nichols corrected his vehicle and re-entered the southwest bound lanes, causing a head-on collision. As witnesses and Chattanooga Fire arrived on scene, Nichols refused to exit his vehicle, and shortly after rammed the victim's vehicle, which was occupied by three victims, one being a 14-year-old child. After ramming their vehicle several times, Nichols began to flee southwest on Suck Creek Road before crossing the northeast lane and smashing through a fence, where he was apprehended by police and a K9 officer.
Nichols failed to render any aid, as well as placed three occupants of the other vehicle, a Toyota SUV, in danger of serious injury, police said.