TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

August 7, 2013

Woman appears in court for reckless homicide

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A woman facing reckless homicide and related charges in the death of a Tennessee man last week appeared in Whitley County District Court Monday.

Donnetta Bell, 22, of Williamsburg, stood before Judge Fred White with her attorney, public defender Ron Findell.

Bell faces several charges after a single-vehicle crash on U.S. 25W between Jellico, Tenn. and Williamsburg killed 45-year-old John E. Faulkner, of Duff.

Bell allegedly was the driver of the Mercury Grand Marquis that was in the crash, which belonged to Faulkner.  

According to the clerk’s office, Bell’s preliminary hearing was waived to the grand jury and she entered a plea of not guilty.

Her next appearance is scheduled for Sept. 16.

White left Bell’s bond the same — $250,000 cash with an ankle bracelet.

After her court appearance, she was remanded back into the custody of the Whitley County Detention Center.

The crash happened July 31.

According to Whitley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Kenny “KY” Fuson, the Mercury was northbound on U.S. 25W when the driver attempted to pass slower-moving vehicles.

For whatever reason, Fuson said witnesses reported the Mercury went out of control. It left the left side of the road and slammed into a pine tree, then dropped down an embankment.

Faulkner was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Andy Croley.

However, Sheriff Colan Harrell said the driver was seen leaving the crash site in another vehicle.

“We know she caught a ride to Jellico,” Harrell said Aug. 1. “She went to a friend’s home — while she was there, she just dropped in the floor.”

Harrell said the friend knew Bell was being sought by law enforcement.

“The friend knew she was wanted,” he said. “(The friend) called 911 and reported her location, then called for an ambulance.”

Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call, and located Bell in treatment at Jellico Community Hospital.

“They met her there at the hospital,” Harrell said.

He added that Bell waived extradition and was brought back to Whitley County Aug. 1.

She faces charges of reckless homicide, failure to render aid or assistance, and leaving the scene of an accident. She also faces a charge of failure to appear for an unrelated case dating back to 2010. State court records also indicate she was scheduled for a status hearing on the 2010 case in February 2014.

JailTracker records indicate Bell has twice before been arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to render aid or assistance.

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