Trooper recalls finding torso in Knoxville vehicular homicide case

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville man arrested after a gruesome hit and run crash was sent back to jail Monday.

The case includes a shocking detail – a trooper finding a human torso in the suspect’s car.

Dorrae Johnson made his first appearance in court Monday at a preliminary hearing.

Johnson was able to post bond after his arrest last month. He led police on a chase, and investigators say he hit a pedestrian in the process.

Johnson was taken into custody as his preliminary hearing wrapped up Monday afternoon. The 29-year-old was arrested last month after police say he hit and killed Darryl Eugene Butler on Sutherland Avenue.

Butler’s torso, they say, was found inside Johnson’s car.

On the witness stand Monday, a Tennessee Highway Patrol sergeant recalled the moment he made that discovery.

Previous story: Knoxville man arrested after human torso found in car

“I saw something red in the floorboad. I couldn’t make out what it was because the dome light in the car was really dim. So I went back to my patrol car and got my flashlight, and came back and shined it in the car, and observed the upper torso,” said Sgt. Michael Turley.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned Turley for about an hour. The hearing finished up mid-afternoon with some strong words from Knox County judge Patricia Long.

“He is a danger. And if I could be sure he would stay sober that might mitigate it, but it’s just so offensive to people that he is walking around. And because of his ability and his freedom, somebody else is dead,” she said.

Judge Long decided to return Johnson to jail, sending his vehicular homicide and related charges on to a grand jury.

Johnson will be back in court on Monday. The judge will then make a ruling on the state’s motion to either revoke or increase Johnson’s bond.

The victim in this case was identified as Darryl Eugene Butler. The crash happened just weeks after he had achieved independent housing through Volunteer Ministry Center.

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