Knoxville fatal hit-and-run suspect had previous DUI conviction

Knoxville fatal hit-and-run suspect had previous DUI conviction

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Curtis Scott Harper (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Curtis Scott Harper (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
Curtis Scott Harper (source: Buncombe County Sheriff's Office) Curtis Scott Harper (source: Buncombe County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The man charged with killing three people in a drunken hit-and-run crash in Knoxville last week has a previous intoxicated driving conviction in North Carolina.

Court records show Curtis Scott Harper, 22, of Franklin, was convicted of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving in Asheville, North Carolina on April 26, 2009. Police arrested him on Patton Avenue.

He pleaded guilty to the DWI, serving 48 hours in jail and receiving 12 months probation and a suspended license. The reckless driving charge was dropped.

Harper, who now lives in Knoxville and just graduated from the University of Tennessee, turned himself in to local authorities Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators say he was driving a 2004 Ford Explorer that struck and killed Nelson A. Soto, 45, Chasity E. Thornell, 24, and her unborn child on May 30 as he drove on Washington Pike.

The Knox County Grand Jury handed up an 11-count presentment Wednesday charging Harper with: three counts of vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication, one count of driving under the influence, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of leaving the scene of an accident and one count DUI second offense.

Harper is scheduled to be in court on June 18.

His attorney, Jim Price, of Nashville, says Harper's family is working to raise his $300,000 bond and they may ask to have it reduced.

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