Attorney Says Police Did Not Have Probable Cause To Put Truck Driver Who Caused Horrific Ooltewah Wreck Into Back Of Patrol Car

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A defense attorney said Thursday that police did not have probable cause to place a truck driver who had just caused a horrific wreck into the back of a patrol car along with his female companion.

Erinn O'Leary said Benjamin Brewer and Charity Pennington were not allowed to leave the patrol car and were detained for several hours before finally being sent on their way back to Kentucky.

Six people died in the June 2015 crash near the Ooltewah exit of I-75.

District Attorney Neal Pinkston disagreed in a hearing before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole. He said, "There was more than probable cause. Six people had been killed and a number of others injured. There was a very large scene of carnage with people screaming."

Brewer, who is facing multiple counts of vehicular homicide, is set to go to trial on June 17.

Police took blood from Brewer and got a recorded statement from him prior to asking him where he wanted to be let off. He asked to go to a Pilot station by I-75 in Bradley County. However, the officer driving him there was asked to check the purse of Ms. Pennington so he pulled over at a Raceway near the wreck scene.

Brewer became upset, saying at one point, "This is a joke."

He then said they would just get out at the Raceway.

Brewer was on the lam for some time afterward and was placed on the TBI's 10 Most Wanted List.

Several patrol car videos were shown at the hearing, including one that showed Brewer and Ms. Pennington asleep several hours after the incident.

In another, Ms. Pennington is by herself breathing heavily and trying several times to get the door of the patrol car open.

She was not charged in the case.

The wreck happened at 7:09 p.m. and the officer left the police station on Amnicola Highway with the pair at 12:45 a.m.

Brewer is represented by three members of the public defender's office - Ms. O'Leary, Mike Little and Jay Underwood.


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