, Corbin, KY

February 20, 2014

Woman charged in fatal crash captured, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

The hunt for a Williamsburg woman wanted in connection with a July traffic crash ended Wednesday with the woman in jail.

Donnetta Bell, 22, allegedly failed to post bond after a Jan. 21 court appearance.

Law enforcement have sought her since then — she was slated for a court appearance Monday in Whitley County Circuit Court in front of Judge Paul Winchester and failed to show.

Bell faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident and failure to render aid or assistance.

According to Whitley County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kenny “KY” Fuson, Bell was allegedly behind the wheel of 45-year-old John E. Faulkner’s Mercury Grand Marquis driving northbound on U.S. 25W when she attempted to pass slower-moving vehicles.

For some unknown reason, Fuson said witnesses saw the Mercury go completely 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.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Colan Harrell said that he, Fuson and Detective Tim Baker responded to a tip that Bell was at a home on Little Wolf Creek Road in Whitley County.

She was at that home, Harrell said — Baker arrested her.

She was jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon, where she remains on an unknown bond.

After the crash in July, Harrell said the driver, allegedly Bell, was seen leaving the crash site in another vehicle.

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

Harrell said it was known 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.

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

JailTracker records indicate Bell has twice before been arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to render aid or assistance — both times in 2011.

She was originally jailed in the detention center under a $250,000 cash bond with an ankle bracelet requirement — and JailTracker records indicate she was released on that bond Dec. 3.

She was originally charged with reckless homicide related to Faulkner’s death, but in December, Bell was indicted for leaving the scene of an accident after the July 31 single-vehicle crash claimed Faulkner’s life.

The indictment states that Bell allegedly “wrecked her automobile and failed to render aid, which resulted in the death of …Faulkner, who was a passenger in (the) vehicle.”

No court date has yet been set.