Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Session September 12, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Grundy County No. 4985 Thomas W.
convicted the Petitioner, Kenneth Krasovic, of reckless
vehicular homicide and five counts of reckless endangerment
with a deadly weapon after he decided to pass a truck on a
hill and collided with both the truck and an oncoming
vehicle. The Petitioner appeals the denial of his
post-conviction petition, alleging that he received the
ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial attorney
presented inadequate expert testimony and advised the
Petitioner not to testify at trial. After a thorough review
of the record, we affirm the post-conviction court's
denial of relief.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
D. Cross (on appeal and at hearing) and Howell Clements (at
hearing), Monteagle, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent
C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Mike Taylor, District Attorney
General; and David Shinn, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
State prosecuted the Petitioner under the theory that he
chose to pass a Chevy S-10 truck ("the Chevy S-10")
on a blind hill in a no-passing zone, resulting in a three-
vehicle accident that endangered five persons present in the
vehicles and caused the death of Ms. Sandra Lockhart, who was
driving a Pontiac ("the Pontiac") in the opposite
direction. The Petitioner tried to show that passing the
Chevy S-10 had been an evasive maneuver and that the speed of
Ms. Lockhart's Pontiac contributed to the accident.
Petitioner's trial, the State presented evidence that the
collision took place after dark at the crest of a hill on a
two-lane highway. The Petitioner was travelling south on
Highway 108, and passing was prohibited due to lack of
visibility past the hill. Approximately 632 feet before the
collision site, Fred Lusk Road intersected the highway on the
Petitioner's right. The Chevy S-10, driven by Ms. Desiree
Underhill, turned from Fred Lusk Road onto the highway in
front of the Petitioner. Both Ms. Underhill and her passenger
testified that she stopped at the stop sign and looked for
traffic before turning. Ms. Underhill then noticed the
Petitioner behind her, attempting to pass her on the hill.
Ms. Underhill testified that she was travelling at
approximately 55 miles per hour but that she slowed down to
facilitate the Petitioner's attempt to pass.
top of the hill, travelling southbound in the northbound
lane, the Petitioner struck Ms. Lockhart's northbound
Pontiac. The Chevy S-10 was also impacted and ultimately
flipped. The distraught Petitioner told an officer on the
scene, "It was my fault. It was my fault." He
stated to the officer "that he was passing another
vehicle, and that he didn't see any headlights and he
thought he had room." He did not say that the Chevy S-10
pulled out in front of him.
the State and the defense presented experts in accident
reconstruction. The State's expert, Trooper Kevin Curtis,
testified that the Pontiac was equipped with an airbag
control module which could record data for five seconds prior
to a collision. The data reflected that the Pontiac was
traveling 63 miles per hour five seconds prior to the crash,
that it slowed during that five-second period, and that it
was traveling at 55 miles per hour immediately before impact.
Ms. Lockhart had activated the brakes one second before
impact, but the antilock system was not activated, indicating
that she did not have time to depress them completely. The
State's expert also testified that he calculated that the
Petitioner was travelling at 66 miles per hour prior to the
collision and that the Chevy S-10 ...