KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Houston tractor trailer driver was “clinically under the influence of marijuana” when he caused a crash that killed a Loudon County deputy on Thursday, according to arrest warrants issued in the incident.
Christopher M. Savannah, of Texas, faces several charges from a wreck that killed Loudon County Deputy Chris Jenkins. Arrest warrant narratives shed light on what police believe happened around 8 a.m. on I-75 north near mile marker 74.
Savannah is innocent of charges until proven guilty in a court of law. Bond has been set at $1 million.
Vehicular Homicide Intoxication, Vehicular Homicide Recklessness
In the arrest report narrative, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Dubroc wrote that Savannah is believed to have been driving a tractor trailer when it hit the rear of Ford Fusion in the left lane. The tractor trailer then swerved to the right, crossing the divided line.
“The tractor trailer then impacted the officer and his vehicle while he was exiting his patrol vehicle,” the report states, catching Jenkins between the vehicles. The tractor trailer then traveled off the roadway to the right and into the guard rail. The Ford Fusion was pushed forward into a Nissan Pathfinder.
The driver of the commercial vehicle was still in his seat when Trooper Paul Dubroc arrived on scene. The arrest reports say Savannah was cooperative, and that he denied drinking or taking any illegal substance or medications. He stated he took only vitamins.
“On the walk and turn, he could not keep balance during instructions. He started too soon. He took the incorrect number of steps. He took the incorrect number of steps. He did not turn as instructed. He stopped after the turn to start his second set of steps,” Dubroc wrote in the arrest report narrative.
Afterward, the report says, Sgt. Robert Woody “smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.” Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were collected from the vehicle, according to the warrant.
Reckless Endangerment – (x 3)
These three charges are for two drivers and a passenger who were in the vehicles struck by the tractor trailer.
“The suspect recklessly engaged in conduct that placed [redacted], a motorist struck by the suspects’ vehicle, in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury,” the arrest warrant states.
Simple Possession Schedule VI, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
“While the suspect’s vehicle was being inventoried, Trooper Matthew Armes noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” this arrest warrant states. Armes told Woody, who was conducting the search. Wood had also noticed the smell, according to other warrants.
“Located behind the passenger’s seat and behind a leather curtain Sergeant Woody located a small square container. This container had several grams of raw, unprocessed marijuana,” Dubroc wrote in the narrative of this arrest warrant.
“Sergeant Woody located in the sleeper berth area (sic) was a brown Crown Royal Bag. Inside this bag was two marijuana grinders, a glass pipe, and alligator clips. All was used to smoke marijuana with,” the arrest warrant said.
Possession of a firearm while under the influence
Sergeant Woody located a loaded 9 mm Springfield XD handgun in the tractor trailer, the warrant states, “This firearm was in a black back (sic) located next to the driver’s seat of the vehicle through an inventory search.”
Savannah was arraigned Friday general sessions court. He is being held in Roane County.