Kingsport, TN- A Tennessee man out on bond for a DUI arrest from last week is back behind bars after he ran over and killed a local businessman and former state representative earlier this week.
Michael Locke, founder of the Hot Dog Hut, a popular eatery in the area was struck Monday night on the Fort Henry Drive Bridge. The impact of the crash threw Locke over the bridge and 20 feet down a ravine.
A witness to the crash told authorities a Yukon veered off the road and hit Locke as he was putting up campaign signs. The driver of the Yukon then drove off and continued traveling away from the scene until he decided to pull over. Another motorist noticed the driver’s odd behavior and pulled over to offer him assistance, but soon discovered the driver was drunk, taking away his keys until police arrived.
The driver was identified as 44 year-old James Hamm who exhibited numerous signs of intoxication and he was placed under arrest.
Kingsport learned that prior to striking Locke, Hamm had just visited a local liquor store where he made and purchase. As he was leaving the store, instead of backing out of his parking space, Hamm ran over the curb, drove over the sidewalk and struck the building. Hamm then took off towards Fort Henry Drive where the fatal accident took place.
But last week, just a few days before striking Locke, Hamm was arrested for driving under the influence after he crossed the center line on Pickens Road and sideswiped a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, according to the Times News. Fortunately, no one was injured in the first accident.
The police report from the Thursday incident stated Hamm was too drunk to perform field sobriety tests and told police “just take me to jail.” During their investigation, police found a nearly empty fifth of vodka in Hamm’s car.
Hamm was out on bond Monday when he struck Locke. He has been charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, DUI, fleeing the scene of an accident involving a fatality, and failure to maintain proper control of a vehicle, the Times News reported. He is currently being held without bond.
A DUI charge involving a fatality typically carries a jail sentence if the offender is convicted. The jail sentence is on top of the many other penalties a drunken driver faces, which includes exorbitant fines, suspension of driver’s license and the driver may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Whether a person is facing a simple DUI or a DUI with other charges tacked on, they need to retain a DUI attorney immediately. Having legal counsel is the only way to negate some of the more serious consequences and possibly avoid a conviction.