By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
A Sevierville, Tenn. man charged with murder in a 2012 crash appeared before the Laurel County Circuit Court Thursday in a pretrial conference, where he had a trial date set for Jan. 14.
Austin Meredith, 26, allegedly struck and killed Howard M. “Red” White in July 2012. The crash that killed White occurred when the victim was operating a rollback wrecker during the early morning hours of July 7.
White was on I-75 in Laurel County, north of Exit 29 in North Corbin, when he stopped in the emergency lane at the 30-mile marker to see if his load was secure.
While White was outside, a box truck driven by Meredith crossed the fog line, striking White and the parked wrecker. He was killed instantly.
Kentucky State Police-Vehicle Enforcement officers discovered White dead at the scene after they responded to the crash. They also found two passengers inside the wrecker at the time of the collision who were not injured.
Law enforcement alleged Meredith was under the influence of alcohol, with one officer saying alcohol was a direct factor in the crash. Meredith was charged with murder, wanton endangerment, DUI and several vehicle violations, and was jailed at the Laurel County Correctional Center.
A Laurel County grand jury indicted Meredith for murder, as well as two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to maintain insurance on his vehicle. The grand jury also charged him with failing to maintain his log book, failing to have a U.S. Department of Transportation number and failing to have a medical certificate. All three of those charges were misdemeanors.
Meredith’s lawyer says he still has plea negotiations to discuss. Negotiations will be open until noon on Jan. 9.
Meredith remains in the LCCC under a $100,000 cash bond.
By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
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