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Tim Siniard reports: A court case involving a Bradley County Sheriff’s corrections officer, who was arrested by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in November for allegedly pointing a firearm at a man after their pickup trucks collided on Interstate 75, was dismissed.
Blake Wetherill, 21, of Ooltewah, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in connection with the Nov. 15 incident. He appeared in a Bradley County Criminal Court on Jan. 18.
After the collision, both drivers reportedly exited off Exit 20 and entered the Brewer’s Exxon parking lot, where they began arguing, resulting in Wetherill allegedly pointing a gun at Eric Williams, 21, of Calhoun, according to a THP report.
Wetherill, who had been suspended without pay by Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson, was reinstated after the court hearing, according to Alana Shell, BCSO public information officer.
A message left with the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office requesting additional information regarding the dismissal was not returned as of press time Tuesday.
Charges in a shooting in Soddy Daisy were dismissed on Tuesday night against “the wrong man” and will be brought against a man with a similar name who lives a block away.
Nashville Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade, who was brought into the case when DA Neal Pinkston recused himself, said she had discussed the matter extensively with TBI agents who were also brought in.
She said she was “comfortable and confident” that Hugo Garcia Padilla was not the man who fired two shots toward a pregnant female at a house on Barbee Road.
Charges, including two counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, were dismissed against Hugo Garcia Padilla in a hearing before Soddy Daisy Judge Marty Lasley.
Officials said, instead, warrants have been taken against Hugo Garcia Robles.
Ms. Meade said the two men with similar names live near one another in an Hispanic section of Hixson, and they also drive similar vehicles.
She said, “The witnesses did not change their story.”
She said a “very vague description” was given of the shooter and police wound up with the wrong Hugo Garcia ….. in custody.
Judge Lasley said he had held up on issuing the warrants against Robles, but, after hearing the testimony, he would further review them and then issue them in a short time.
DA Pinkston had asked the TBI to look into the involvement of his campaign foe, Coty Wamp, in the case. She said she had received a call from Jeff Cannon, a friend of Padilla, who had put some of the people involved in the case on the phone and they insisted Padilla was innocent.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, the Cleveland Police Department will conduct sobriety checkpoints and enforcement in the Keith Street, 25th Street, North Lee Highway and Inman Street areas, according to Sgt. Evie West, CPD public information officer.
The legal limit in Tennessee for blood alcohol tests or breath alcohol tests is 0.08.
Penalties for first-time convicted DUI offenders are as follows, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security:
- From 48 hours to 11 months, 29 days.
- Minimum seven days consecutive jail time for .20 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or greater.
- License revocation for one year (restricted licenses are possible).
- Mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug treatment program and restitution paid to anyone who suffers physical injury or personal loss; $350 to $1,500 fine.
- With towing, bail, attorney representation, high-risk insurance, court costs, school and reinstatement fees, first-offense average costs could add up to $4,900.
- Ignition Interlock Device installed at offender’s expense. Minimum first-year costs could exceed $1,000.
- If there are two convictions of DUI in five years, Ignition Interlock Device is required for six months after license reinstatement at offender’s expense.
- Drug and alcohol treatment may be required at the judge’s discretion.