UPDATE: Bond for suspect in deadly Meigs Co. crash increased to - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Bond for suspect in deadly Meigs Co. crash increased to $250,000

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Photo by WRCB viewer Brian McCoy. Photo by WRCB viewer Brian McCoy.
Photo by WRCB photojournalist Timothy Bradfield. Photo by WRCB photojournalist Timothy Bradfield.
MEIGS COUNTY, TN -

UPDATE: In a hearing Monday morning in Bradley County, the bond for John Wesley Bennett was increased to $250,000.

Bennett is charged in the May 5 crash  in Meigs County that claimed four lives.


PREVIOUS STORY: The man wanted in connection to a deadly crash in Meigs County is now behind bars. 

John Wesley Bennett, 34, met with a bonding agent early Tuesday morning to turn himself in after four days on the run. 

"As a bail bondsman, I'm responsible for him out there as well and responsible for him and that's the reason I've been working extra hours, late at night, 1-2 in the morning, trying to get new leads," Bernnie King said. 

It wasn't U.S. Marshals or deputies who arrested Bennett, but King, a Bradley County bonding agent, who bailed Bennett out in December for charges related to drugs and driving on a revoked license. 

"I had some contacts with some people the past couple days that had contact with him and they called me around 1-1:30 this morning," she said, "He was very remorseful, very sorry for what happened. He was scared, he ran and he knew he had to face what was coming at him."

Channel 3 has learned Bennett ran to a nearby EMS station for help moments after Friday's crash, but then took off into the woods. 

It's unclear where Bennett stayed during his four days on the run but Tuesday morning, he decided it was time to turn himself in. 

"He had been out in the woods. I don't know if anybody was providing him with anything like food or anything like that," she added, "He knew that he had to face this and he wanted to surrender sooner than what he did but he was scared."

Bennett will first answer to the charges in Bradley County before being sent to Meigs County to face charges related to the crash. 

"Tennessee Highway Patrol has charged Mr. Bennett with four counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality," Bradley County Sheriff's Office Lt. James Bradford said. 

And as the investigation continues, he could face more charges in the future. 


PREVUOUS STORY: The Bradley County Sheriff's Office says the suspect in the Meigs County crash, 34-year-old John Bennett is in custody. 

Bennett is in the Bradley County Jail, with no word yet on charges. Bond was set for $200,000 at Tuesday's hearing.

BCSO says a bond agent convinced Bennett to turn himself in "voluntarily" after four days on the run.


PREVIOUS STORY: Tennessee Highway Patrol is asking for help finding the man they say is responsible for a deadly crash in Meigs County. 

John Wesley Bennett, 34, is still on the run after Friday's crash that killed four people and is now wanted on multiple felony warrants in connection to the crash. 

It happened Friday afternoon on Highway 53 about two miles south of Decatur. 

 The victims in the crash are identified as Andrew Blackford, 38, of Murfreesboro; Samantha Norris, 37, of Maynardville; Christopher Denton, 36, of Dunlap; and Paula Stevens, 62, of Dunlap. 

Bennett was last seen running into the woods moments after the crash. 

Investigators say the trailer his dump truck was pulling came loose and hit two cars killing all four people inside. 

"It is our understanding that the driver owned the vehicle and he was in a construction-type business," Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. John Harmon said. 

It's unclear why Bennett took off but a preliminary report shows investigators believe drugs and alcohol may have played a factor but wouldn't indicate why. 

District Attorney Russell Johnson couldn't about Bennett's criminal history but did say he shouldn't have been behind the wheel. 

"It does appear that his driver's license has been suspended and has been suspended for a period of time so that's a minor charge compared to any sort of vehicular homicide charge in the four deaths that were involved," he said. 

Channel 3 did some digging into Bennett's background and found he was charged with driving on a suspended license in Hamilton County in 2013. 

He also faced charged related to a commercial motor vehicle in 2009 but they were later dismissed. 

If you know where Bennett is, call Tennessee Highway Patrol at 1-800-305-2201. 


The Tennessee Highway Patrol is asking for the public's help for answers in a Highway 58 crash that claimed four lives Friday afternoon in Meigs County. 

Dispatchers in Meigs County tell Channel 3 that the crash happened about 2:30pm on Highway 58, between Decatur Circle and Sharp Road.

The names of the four people killed have been released. Andrew Blackford, 38, from Murfreesboro and Samantha Norris, 37, from Maynardville were traveling in a Nissan Maxima. Christopher Denton, 36, from Dunlap, and Paula Stevens, 62, also from Dunlap were traveling in a 1995 Nissan PFI. 

Tennessee Highway Patrol's preliminary report says both vehicles were traveling northbound on Hwy 58. John Wesley Bennett, 34, was traveling south bound on Hwy 58. The trailer that was attached to his vehicle detached from his vehicle and entered the northbound lane striking the Nissan Maxima and then the Nissan PFI before overturning. The Maxima came to rest in the center of the roadway. The Nissan PFI was overturned by the trailer and came to rest on its top on the right side of the shoulder of the roadway. 

The driver of the dump truck, John Wesley Bennett, continued to drive for about a quarter mile before fleeing his vehicle and is being called a person of interest.

THP says that they have secured multiple felony warrants with the Meigs County District Attorney's Office for Bennett's arrest due to his actions which caused a crash and killing four people. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Tennessee Highway Patrol at 1-800-305-2201 and request to speak with Sergeant Thomas W. Clower of THP’s Criminal Investigations Division.  

Bennett's last known address is 310 Hicks Circle in Decatur, Tennessee.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this developing story.
 

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