City man faces charges after hitting trailer with pickup

Published 9:37 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

An Elizabethton man was hospitalized and will face charges after a motor vehicle accident Tuesday in which police say he struck a home with his truck before leaving the scene of the crash.

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy Tylor Johnson responded to a home at 105 Renfro Road after the homeowner, Roger Bunton, called 911 to report damage to his property. Bunton told police someone in a black Ford pickup truck ran through his driveway, struck his mobile home and then fled the scene.

After receiving a description of the vehicle, Johnson said he and Deputy Paul Morrell began looking for the suspect’s truck. About 20 minutes later, Johnson found a black Ford F-150 fitting Bunton’s description parked on the bank at the Moose Lodge on Lovers Lane, which is about half of a mile from Bunton’s home.

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“I then made contact with the driver, who was unresponsive and appeared to be under the influence,” Johnson said. When an paramedics arrived, the driver remained unresponsive, so he was taken to a local hospital, where he was admitted for treatment.

Johnson identified the driver as Jose Hernandez, 31, of 102 W. H St.

Upon further investigation, Johnson found that Hernandez’s truck had fresh paint damage on the front end and paint transfer that was the same color as the mobile home.

Based on the evidence at the scene of the crash and the scene where the vehicle was found, Johnson said he obtained an arrest warrant for Hernandez charging him with driving under the influence and failure to give immediate notice of an accident.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hernandez remained hospitalized but no further information was available regarding his condition or what, if any, injuries he suffered in the crash. Upon his release from the hospital, the warrant for arrest will be served on him. No court date has been set.