Judge sets hearing date for woman charged with striking deputy

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye  Shawna Ray appeared in General Sessions Court on Tuesday where Judge Keith Bowers Jr. set her case for a preliminary hearing.

Star Photo/Abby Morris-Frye
Shawna Ray appeared in General Sessions Court on Tuesday where Judge Keith Bowers Jr. set her case for a preliminary hearing.

A Carter County woman charged with striking a sheriff’s deputy with her vehicle while fleeing arrest appeared in court Tuesday morning and her case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing later this month.
Shawna Lynn Ray, 28, of 106 Reeser Road, Apt. 6, Johnson City, made her second appearance in court Tuesday on multiple charges connected to a May 4 incident where Ray allegedly struck and drug a Carter County Sheriff’s Office deputy with her vehicle at a local elementary school. Officers of the CCSO arrested Ray on May 4 and charged her with aggravated assault, felony evading arrest, leaving the scene of an accident, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.
Ray was arraigned on the charges on May 5 in Carter County General Sessions Court before Judge Keith Bowers Jr. At her arraignment, Bowers appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Ray.
Assistant Public Defender James Lonon told Bowers on Tuesday that the case needed to be set for a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing is a routine court proceeding when a person has been charged with a crime. Bowers will hold a preliminary hearing in this case to determine if enough probable cause or evidence exists for prosecution to continue. If Bowers finds that sufficient cause or evidence exists, he will bind the case over to a grand jury, which will review the case before forwarding it on to Carter County Criminal Court.
Lonon also informed the court that a detainer has been placed on Ray by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office due to an outstanding arrest warrant in that jurisdiction.
A check of court records in Washington County revealed that in January Ray pled guilty to one count of evading arrest with risk of death in Washington County Criminal Court and was sentenced to 5 years of probation through the Tennessee Department of Correction’s Board of Probation and Parole.
Bowers granted Lonon’s request for a preliminary hearing and scheduled the hearing for May 24.
Ray remains held in the Carter County Detention Center under a $500,000 bond.
The charges against Ray stem from an incident that happened around 2 p.m. on May 4 at Central Elementary School, located at 252 Taylortown Road, when CCSO Deputy Tracie Pierson, who serves as the School Resource Officer at Central, encountered Ray at the school.
Pierson spoke to Ray about her driving a car on a suspended driver’s license and Ray admitted to the officer she drove the car to the school and also admitted she knew her driver’s license was suspended, CCSO Sgt. Larry Vaughn said.
“Deputy Pierson said she was able to place a handcuff on Ms. Ray’s left wrist, but Ms. Ray used her right hand to start the car and put it in gear,” Vaughn said. “Deputy Pierson said that the vehicle began to move forward and she began to be dragged beside Ms. Ray’s vehicle and eventually was pinned between a parked car and Ms. Ray’s car.”
“According to witness statements, Deputy Pierson was dragged by Ms. ray’s vehicle approximately 30 to 40 yards before Deputy Pierson fell away from Ms. Ray’s vehicle,” he added.
Witnesses said Ray fled from the parking lot at a high rate of speed.
With help from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City Police Department and the Tennessee Constables Association, officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office located Ray and took her into custody in the Austin Springs area of Johnson City.
Pierson was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries and later released.

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