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Krasovic v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 14, 2017

KENNETH KRASOVIC
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

          Session September 12, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Grundy County No. 4985 Thomas W. Graham, Judge

         A jury 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.

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

          Paul D. Cross (on appeal and at hearing) and Howell Clements (at hearing), Monteagle, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth John Krasovic.

          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.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Trial

         The 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.

         At the 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.

         At the 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.

         Both 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 ...


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