Woman pleads guilty to striking deputy with car

Published 6:10 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

A woman charged with striking a Carter County deputy with her car entered a guilty plea in Criminal Court on Monday and was sentenced to 10 years.

Shawna Lynn Ray, 28, of Watauga, appeared in Carter County Criminal Court on Monday and entered a guilty plea to a charge of aggravated assault. As part of the plea agreement, the District Attorneys Office dismissed the charges of evading arrest, resisting arrest, and driving on a suspended license.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ray will serve a 10-year sentence under the classification of “Persistent” offender, which means she would have to serve a minimum of 45 percent of the sentence before she would be eligible to apply for parole. As one of the terms of the agreement, Ray will not receive any form of alternative sentencing such as probation or house arrest.

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Judge Stacy Street approved the plea and ordered Ray to pay a $50 fine as well as court costs on the conviction for aggravated assault.

The plea agreement also covered two counts of violation of probation Ray had pending in Washington County. Ray received a 5-year sentence on each count of violation of probation. The two 5-year sentences are to be served consecutively to each other but concurrently with the aggravated assault conviction, giving Ray an effective sentence of 10 years.

The charges against Ray stem from an incident that happened around 2 p.m. on May 4, 2016, at Central Elementary School when CCSO Deputy Tracie Pierson, who was 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, according to court documents.

“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,” CCSO Lt. Larry Vaughn said in the affidavit of complaint against Ray. “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 later that same day.

Pierson was transported to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries and later released.