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February 19, 2014

Woman charged in fatal crash captured

CORBIN — Times-Tribune

Staff Report

A Williamsburg woman wanted in connection with a fatal July crash has been found, according to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.

Donnetta D. Bell, 22, is charged in connection with a single-vehicle traffic crash that killed a Duff, Tenn., man July 31.

Bell recently failed to appear in Whitley County Circuit Court before Judge Paul Winchester. Already with an arrest warrant out for her, Winchester said there was no need to do another one.

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.

However, Sheriff Colan 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.

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

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

JailTracker records indicate 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.

Those same 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 jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center under a $250,000 cash bond with an ankle bracelet requirement — and JailTracker records indicate she was released Dec. 3.

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.”

 

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