Hit and Run Crash Results in Fatality

September 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hit and Run Crash Results in Fatality
Donald Henson

A 51 year old man, involved in a hit and run accident Wednesday morning on Broad Street in Smithville, is in more trouble with the law now after the female passenger who was in the van with him has died.

Dead is 44 year old Priscilla Judkins

Smithville Police have charged Donald Henson with leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, and vehicular assault. Other charges may be pending. Henson, who has a Cookeville address, actually lives near the Putnam county line in White County.

According to Officer Matt Farmer, Henson was traveling east on Broad Street in a Dodge Caravan when he rear-ended an eastbound 1994 Toyota pickup truck, driven by Randy Paris, who was stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Broad and South Mountain Street.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:12 a.m.

Officer Farmer says after crashing into Paris' truck, Henson left the scene, still heading east on Broad Street. Paris received minor injuries in the collision but refused EMS transport to the hospital. His truck received considerable damage.

Sheriff Patrick Ray then had a close encounter with Henson. According to the sheriff, he was driving west on Broad Street near Bumper's Drive-In and had pulled into the turning lane to make a turn, when he saw the eastbound Dodge Caravan, also in the turning lane, fast approaching him. Sheriff Ray says he quickly maneuvered into the westbound lane and the van went on by him, still heading east.

Sheriff Ray says he turned around to catch up with the van and saw it turn into the parking lot of Curve's on East Broad Street. When he pulled in behind the van at Curves', Sheriff Ray says the man behind the wheel was trying to drive the van up an embankment. The van rolled back and came to a stop in the parking lot.

Sheriff Ray says when the driver got out of the van, he also noticed a woman passenger who appeared to be seriously injured. He called for an ambulance.

Henson was placed in custody by Smithville Police at the scene and Judkins was taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. She was later airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, where she died.

Henson, who was believed to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, told police that his brakes "went out" and that his accelerator "hung". He also had in the van several cans of beer, three empty liquor bottles, and at least one bottle of Tequila which was half full.

The investigation continues.

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