From WATE: A 23-year-old Cleveland, Tenn. man is facing charges after a crash in McMinn County that claimed the life of Toby Reid, the 2023 Sea Scout of the Year.
According to an arrest warrant issued by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the two-vehicle crash occurred on Wednesday, Sept. 6 on Highway 39. An arriving THP trooper was advised by other emergency personnel at the scene that the driver of the second vehicle, identified as Reid, was dead. The THP trooper made contact with the first driver, Samuel David Phillips, 23, who said he was traveling east on Highway 39 W and attempted to make a left turn to get onto Interstate 75; failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle according to the warrant.
“Upon contact with Mr. Phiilips I observed bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and an extreme odor of an intoxicant emitting from his person,” the THP trooper stated in their report. “Mr. Phillips admitted to having several beers prior to driving.”
The THP trooper conducted a field sobriety test with Phillips, who was unable to correctly perform the commands. He also refused a blood draw after being informed of Tennessee Implied Consent.
A search of the vehicle was conducted after a search warrant was obtained, and multiple intoxicating beverages and five firearms were found inside Phillips’ vehicle.
Phillips was taken to the McMinn County Jail.
Phillips made an initial court appearance on Sept. 7 and was charged with Vehicular Homicide, Reckless Endangerment, Violation of Implied Consent, Open Container and Possession of a Handgun Under the Influence, according to court documents. His bond was set at $77,500.
The crash resulted in the death of Reid, who was the other driver.