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State v. Bookout

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

March 24, 2017


          Assigned on Briefs March 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 16-140 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

         In April 2016, the Madison County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant, Anthony J. Bookout, Sr., on charges of driving under the influence (DUI), driving while his alcohol concentration was .08% or more (DUI per se), DUI second offense, leaving the scene of an accident, and evading arrest. Following a trial, a jury convicted the Defendant of DUI, DUI per se, DUI second offense, and leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries, for which the Defendant received an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days suspended to supervised probation following the service of ninety days in jail. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Anthony J. Bookout, Sr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ruth Anne Thompson, Senior Counsel; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Matthew A. Floyd, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., joined.



         Factual and Procedural Background

         State's Proof

         During the first phase of the Defendant's bifurcated trial, Terry Springfield testified that he was traveling west-bound on Highway 70 in Madison County on June 24, 2015. Mr. Springfield saw a truck "sitting" in the left lane of traffic-the same lane in which he was traveling. In order to avoid it, Mr. Springfield veered into the median. At the same time, the truck moved into the median, and Mr. Springfield's black Cadillac Escalade hit the truck. Following the collision, Mr. Springfield's SUV became inoperable, and although he attempted to move it out of the road, the vehicle was partially blocking traffic in the westbound lane. The blinkers and headlights on Mr. Springfield's SUV were not working, and the only lighting in the area consisted of one light coming from a nearby store. As a bystander approached to check on Mr. Springfield, Mr. Springfield heard someone saying, "Hey, hey slow down, slow down, " and then a motorcycle collided with the passenger side of Mr. Springfield's SUV. Mr. Springfield, along with other bystanders, assisted the two people on the motorcycle that were "stuck" against Mr. Springfield's SUV. Mr. Springfield helped to lift the motorcycle up, and the two people fell to the ground. Mr. Springfield described the driver of the motorcycle as an elderly man with long white hair wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans. The driver was not "talking right" and "couldn't tell what was going on." Mr. Springfield recalled that the truck he initially struck was no longer at the scene when the motorcycle collided with his vehicle.

         Josh Noles testified that he was traveling home from work around 10:35 p.m. on June 24, 2015, when he encountered Mr. Springfield's disabled SUV on Highway 70. Mr. Noles recalled that it was hard to see the disabled vehicle as there were no lights on the vehicle and the area was not very well lit. Mr. Noles got out of his car to check on Mr. Springfield. As he was speaking to Mr. Springfield, Mr. Noles heard a motorcycle approaching and then saw it crash into Mr. Springfield's disabled vehicle. Mr. Noles helped to move the motorcycle off of "[a] gentleman and a woman, " who were pinned between it and Mr. Springfield's SUV. Mr. Noles noticed two alcohol bottles on the ground. The man on the motorcycle was an older man, wearing blue jeans, who appeared disoriented and smelled of alcohol. The man said he was "fine, " and he was able to stand up and move to "the side." The woman appeared to have been unconscious for a time. Mr. Noles, who was a first aid responder, tended to the woman as police officers arrived at the scene. As Mr. Noles tended to the woman, he observed the man running with an officer in pursuit. Eventually, officers apprehended the man and brought him back to the scene of the crash.

         Trooper Adam Cash with the Tennessee Highway Patrol testified that, on the night of June 24, 2015, he responded to a call regarding a vehicle crash on Highway 70. Upon arriving at the scene in his marked patrol car, Trooper Cash observed an SUV in the roadway blocking the westbound lane of traffic, a motorcycle on the ground next to the vehicle, and an injured woman on the ground near the motorcycle. As he was speaking to the woman on the ground, another woman ran up to Trooper Cash yelling, "He's over here. He's intoxicated. He was the driver." Another witness told Trooper Cash that the man was running around a house, and the witness pointed to a white man with long gray hair, black leather jacket, and blue jeans. The trooper, who was in his uniform, yelled at the man to stop running, but the man continued to run. Trooper Cash chased the man for a short distance before apprehending him. The man stated, "I'm just drunk, " and he told Trooper Cash that he had "quite a bit" to drink. The man, whom Trooper Cash identified as the Defendant, said that he had had "a couple of drinks." When Trooper Cash asked the Defendant about the wreck, the Defendant did not appear to know what had happened and could not answer questions about it. Nonetheless, Trooper Cash was able to identify the motorcycle as being registered to the Defendant. Trooper Cash did not request the Defendant to perform field sobriety tests; however, Trooper Cash testified that, based on his training, he believed the Defendant was impaired due to "indicators" he observed. He detected a strong odor of alcohol from the Defendant, the Defendant's eyes were bloodshot and watery, the Defendant was swaying back and forth, and he was unable to hand Trooper Cash his driver's license on the first try. Additionally, the Defendant repeatedly stated, "I'm drunk, " and he asked Trooper Cash what had happened, multiple times. Trooper Cash identified the Defendant as the driver of the motorcycle based on statements given at the scene, including those made by the Defendant. Trooper Cash requested that the Defendant submit to a blood sample for testing to which the Defendant complied. The Defendant's blood sample was taken at 1:42 a.m. on June 25, approximately three hours after the crash.

         Trooper Cash explained that his patrol car was equipped with a "digital dash camera" that recorded video and audio from the scene that night. The video was played to the jury, and Trooper Cash identified the Defendant's voice saying that he was ...

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