Tennessee woman charged for driving around funeral procession, injuring 2

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A Cannon County woman has been arrested more than two months after she drove around stopped vehicles at a funeral procession, crashing into another driver and then running over a pedestrian.

Ashley Beasley, 33, was arrested Wednesday. Ten and a half hours later she was out of jail and didn’t have to post a bond.   

“I was happy at first,” Johns said.  “I was pleased, I felt like Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) finally did something THP should have done a long time ago.”  

Beasley is facing DUI, possession of marijuana charges, and a few minor traffic violations.    

The Cannon County woman is accused of speeding around several vehicles that stopped for a funeral procession as drivers turned into a cemetery.   

She crashed into Elton Johns’ truck, flipping it over, and then ran over his cousin, Demetris Benford, who suffered head and other injuries all over his body.  

Witnesses said she admitted to state Troopers she had been drinking and taking pills.  

Johns is wondering why the Tennessee Highway Patrol didn’t charge the woman with vehicular assault, as well.  

“They said she couldn’t be charged with vehicular assault because there is no serious bodily injury, but if his head was split open in two spots and his knees was split open then of course it’s bodily injury so, a person like that behind the wheel on Memorial Day man can cause a lot of pain to other families,” Johns said.  

On the day of the March 21 crash, Bud Light beer cans were seen in the front seat of her car.  

“I feel cheated because this woman is being able to walk around, drive around whatever she’s doing,” Johns said.  

Johns feels she should have been taken to jail that day.  

“Especially when she told the police she was under the influence as she was driving,” he said.  “That automatically showed her mind was altered when she plowed into me and Demetris Benford.”  

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is warning drivers this Memorial Day weekend and using this case as a prime example of not to drink and drive.  

“Reality of it is the nightmares and the scars that come with you from victim are something that stay with us for a very long time,” said Phaedra Marriott-Olsen with MADD Tennessee.  

Johns filed an official complaint with the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security against the Trooper working the crash, saying he failed to interview any of the people there for the funeral; only Beasley and some people who had stopped for the funeral procession.     

He said he hopes that Beasley has learned her lesson.  

“I hope she doesn’t get into a vehicle and injure anyone this weekend, and if she does I totally blame THP for that,” Johns said.  

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Tennessee officials said Memorial Day weekend is one of the worst for DUI crashes and fatalities.  

In 2016, drunk driving claimed 160 lives during the Memorial Day weekend.  MADD also encourages drivers to wear their seatbelts. 

Image courtesy of WKRN-TV

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