Jury sees police video in Margaret Laverne Riddle’s vehicular homicide trial
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Blount County Circuit Court jury Wednesday watched police video of an accident more than six years ago that claimed the life of a Maryville man.
Margaret Laverne Riddle, 46, Kenway Drive, Louisville, is on trial for vehicular homicide stemming from the fatal accident. She is free on $50,000 bond.
On June 14, 2007, Riddle was traveling on Hall Road near the intersection of Associates Boulevard when she rear-ended a motorcycle driven by John E. Younce Jr., of Maryville. Younce, 46, who was stopped at a traffic light, was thrown from his motorcycle and landed on his head, breaking his neck.
Younce was wearing a helmet, but his injuries were so severe that he died a short time later at Blount Memorial Hospital.
Riddle reportedly told officers that she was approaching the traffic signal at the intersection when it changed from red to green, and she continued through because she didn’t see Younce stopped at the intersection.
According to the original Alcoa Police Department report, officers indicated that drugs and/or alcohol may have played a role in the accident.
During the second day of Riddle’s trial Wednesday, Alcoa police officer Dustin Cook said he was dispatched to the accident, and testified that Riddle was still seated in her vehicle, a 2008 Ford Mustang, when police and emergency personnel arrived on the scene.
Cook said that Riddle was understandably upset and distraught when he approached her, and he tried to calm her down.
“I went to see if she needed medical attention,” Cook said. “She said she just had just hit the motorcycle and didn’t see him. She said she drank two beers earlier in the day. I was not able to smell any alcohol because there was a heavy gasoline smell, but I asked her to perform a full sobriety test.
“It was an emotional roller coaster,” Cook continued. “She would be calm, and the next minute she would be hysterical.”
Blount County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Desmond showed video footage from Cook’s patrol car as the officer questioned Riddle after the accident. He asked if she needed medical attention, which she refused.
Riddle repeatedly asked about Younce’s condition, and Cook replied that he was going to the hospital.
“Forget about me, I want to know about the other person,” Riddle said.
Cooke told her that she would be going to the hospital anyway to have a blood test. As the sobriety test was conducted in the video, Riddle was told to count backward, walk a yellow line and stand on one foot and count. She passed the test and was not arrested because there was no evidence indicating that she was under any influence, according to Cook.
Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, chief medical examiner for several counties and a forensic pathologist with the University of Tennessee, testified that another medical examiner conducted the autopsy on Younce, and it was confirmed that Younce’s cause of death was injuries related to blunt force trauma.
“These kind of injuries do not have to be fatal, but coupled with anything else, if the brain is involved it could be fatal,” Mileusnic-Polchan said.
Alcoa Police Sgt. Bud Cooper continued his testimony from Tuesday, saying that he noticed a slight odor of alcohol coming from Riddle, but no open containers were found.
He said that it was unusual for Riddle to travel down Hall Road when her home address was near Old Lowes Ferry Road in Louisville, when she could have taken a shorter route.