Knoxville man arrested, found with severed torso in car after crash
A Knoxville man faces vehicular homicide charges after a police officer found a severed torso Sunday morning in his vehicle, Knox County court records show.
Authorities discovered the body after pulling over Dorrae Debrice Johnson, 29.
An officer first stopped Johnson after seeing him failing to maintain a single lane of travel on I-40 West near mile marker 388.
Johnson drove away, however, according to records.
The Knoxville Police Department officer stopped him again after seeing him driving onto Sutherland Avenue. The officer tried to turn off Johnson's ignition and saw the upper part of a man's body lying in the passenger floorboard, records state.
Police believe Johnson was driving while intoxicated. He said he was "blitzed," according to a warrant.
When asked who was in the car with him, Johnson said he and the passenger had switched seats, the warrant states.
The officer then went back to the scene where the victim was believed to have been hit on the interstate and found the lower half of the body at the scene of impact, according to records.
It appears Johnson struck and killed the man, identified as Darryl Eugene Butler, 65, of Knoxville. Butler's wallet also was found at the scene.
On Sunday morning, authorities shut down part of Sutherland Avenue for several hours. KPD said it was assisting the Tennessee Highway Patrol in an investigation.
KPD declined Monday to discuss the circumstances and referred questions to THP. 10News has reached out to the THP, which generally has jurisdiction over the interstates.
Warrants indicate the officer first tried to stop Johnson about 3:30 a.m. Sunday on I-40. He'd been driving erratically, records state.
"Upon approach to the vehicle the suspect was yelling out the window that he had to get to his family's home," the warrant states.
He then drove off.
The officer followed and saw him drive onto Sutherland Avenue.
He was "...driving the wrong way on the road, striking a curb and blowing out a tire," the report said.
Johnson then went back into his lane, crossed to the right and hit a utility pole, at which point the vehicle came to a rest. Investigators allege he ran away from the wreck from the driver's side, but police caught up to him and brought him back to the car.
At this point, authorities asked Johnson if he had been drinking. He responded that he drinking 1800 Tequila but could not give an amount.
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