|On March 10, 2016 at approximately 8:50 AM, Crash Investigators from the Kingsport Police Department Traffic Unit responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian at Southern Classic Car Wash, located at 4264 Fort Henry Drive, in the Colonial Heights area of Kingsport. The ensuing investigation revealed the following:
An employee, Dwane Larry Whitfield, Jr., was pulling a customer’s 2007 Ford F-150 out of the wash bay into a drying area when he struck fellow employee Ronald S. Herndon who was working in the drying area. Mr. Herndon was pushed forward and pinned between the truck and a dirt embankment.
Mr. Herndon sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by Sullivan County E.M.S. for emergency treatment.
Mr. Whitfield’s driver license was classified as revoked at the time of the crash. Due to the seriousness of injuries inflicted upon his co-worker, investigators requested that Mr. Whitfield submit to a blood test. He consented, with the resultant sample being sent to the T.B.I. Crime Lab for analysis.
This crash has remained under investigation by the K.P.D. Traffic Unit while awaiting the results from the T.B.I. Crime Lab.
In May 2016, a preliminary lab report was received showing that Mr. Whitfield was negative for alcohol; however, two additional reports followed in June and August 2016 showing him positive for multiple prescription medications to include Nordiazepam, Clonazepam, 7-Amino Clonazepam, Buprenorphine (a.k.a. Subutex), and Norbuprenorphine.
The results of the investigation were submitted to the Office of the Sullivan County District Attorney for review. On January 18, 2017 the facts of the case were presented to the Sullivan County Grand Jury who returned a true bill, charging Mr. Whitfield with 1) Reckless Aggravated Assault, 2) Vehicular Assault, 3) Driving Under the Influence, and 4) Driving on a Revoked License. On January 24, 2017 a Criminal Court Capias was issued for his arrest.
On January 30, 2017 at approximately 11:30 AM, K.P.D. Officers arrested Mr. Whitfield at his residence on Bell Ridge Road in Kingsport. He was transported to the Kingsport City Jail for processing and then forwarded to the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville for confinement. He has since been released after posting a $5,000 bond as set by the presiding judge.
Coincidentally, an almost identical motor vehicle collision occurred at this same car wash roughly a week later, where a different employee also struck a fellow employee with a customer’s vehicle; however, in the second instance, the investigation revealed that the driver had a valid license and was not impaired, so no charges were filed.