Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 12, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County Nos. II-CR017000, II-CR087471 Timothy L. Easter, Judge
Vanessa P. Bryan, District Public Defender; and Robert W. Jones, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Tyrone R. Teasley.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Carlin Hess, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
Pursuant to the negotiated plea agreement, the Defendant pleaded guilty to each offense without an agreement regarding sentencing. At the guilty plea hearing, the State's recitation of facts showed that in case number II-CR017000, the Defendant was involved in a hit-and-run collision during which he fled the scene without reporting the incident and was followed by the other driver. Police officers were dispatched, and they stopped the Defendant. When questioned by the officers, the Defendant had an odor of alcohol, admitted to drinking alcohol, and performed poorly on field sobriety tests. Upon arrest, the Defendant "did not place his hands behind his back and attempted to resist[.]" The Defendant was arrested, and his blood alcohol concentration was 0.18%.
Relative to case number II-CR087471, the State's recitation of the facts showed that the Defendant was involved in a single car crash A state trooper was dispatched and questioned the Defendant, who denied being the driver of the vehicle despite being the only person at the scene. The Defendant had injuries consistent with a roll-over vehicle crash and had debris on him. The Defendant's eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slurred. The trooper concluded that the Defendant was the driver of the vehicle. The Defendant admitted to drinking two beers earlier that evening, and he performed poorly on field sobriety tests. The Defendant had a revoked license and had two previous convictions for that offense. The Defendant refused a blood-alcohol test.
At the sentencing hearing, the Defendant testified that he was twenty-eight years old, was raised by his grandmother in Michigan, and graduated from high school. He attended one year of college in Michigan but moved to Tennessee in 2006 for work. He said that he was required to make payments toward his student loans before he could obtain additional student loans. He wanted to finish his college education because he had three children.
The Defendant testified that he lived with his sister, Rashonda Cotton. He was caring for his one-year-old daughter at the time of the hearing. He worked at Four Star Paving, and he paid for childcare. He took her to church weekly. He had applied for entry into a project management program at I.T.T. Tech. He said that his current pay rate was $14 per hour and that he would receive benefits for his children.
The Defendant testified that each of his present cases involved alcohol and that he had a drinking problem. He said he was going to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, to obtain a sponsor, and to attempt to stop drinking because it was "a problem in [his] life." He said he was willing "to give it [his] all."
On cross-examination, the Defendant testified relative to the collision involving another vehicle that he knew the occupants of the other vehicle, that the other driver was stopped at a red light, that the light turned green, and that he thought the other driver was going to drive through the intersection. The Defendant slammed on his brakes to prevent a collision but hit the car. The Defendant and the occupants of the other car were driving to Natchez Street to "chill and drink" when the collision occurred. He said he drank two twenty-four ounce beers earlier that day and denied he was impaired at the time of the collision.
The Defendant testified that he was previously charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and underage possession of alcohol in 2006. He was previously arrested for possession of marijuana and ecstasy. He admitted to using ecstasy. He said that he was only previously convicted of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and possession of marijuana and that he received probation. He said he violated his probation by continuing to drive. The trial court reviewed the probation violation reports, which showed that the Defendant violated the conditions of his release and that the court sentenced him to ten days' confinement and returned him to probation. The Defendant was later arrested for driving on a suspended license and for failure to report the arrest to his probation officer. The Defendant served ninety days in confinement for the probation violation. The Defendant violated his probation a third time by failing to pay fines, fees, and court costs, and the court extended the duration of his probation.
The Defendant testified relative to the roll-over crash that he did not tell the investigating officer that he was driving the car because he was scared. He admitted to drinking two twenty-four ounce beers and one-half pint of liquor that day. He said that the car belonged to his then-fiancée's father and that he had permission to drive the car. He said that after the incident, he and his fiancée decided not to marry and that her father later told the police the Defendant did not have permission to drive the car. He said ...