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Man accused of driving drunk in crash that killed Hardin Valley teen

One young person lost their life in the crash, two were seriously injured.
Published: May. 22, 2021 at 2:41 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - A pickup truck crash Friday night resulted in the death of an 18-year-old and left multiple others injured, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

On Friday, May 22, troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash with injuries on New Henderson Road near Henderson Bend Road.

Anderson County deputies on the scene said there were approximately eight people in the truck and the passengers were transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. Officials confirmed one person was transported by helicopter.

THP troopers identified the driver of the vehicle as John Boles, 21, who they said had an “odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person.” Troopers said they observed Boles’ eyes to be watery and bloodshot and his speech to be low and quiet.

Boles told troopers he consumed four alcoholic drinks at a restaurant in Karns. Officials performed multiple sobriety tests on Boles, during which he reportedly displayed a lack of convergence and was unable to keep balance, THP reports stated.

Boles was placed under arrest and transported to the Anderson County Jail. He faces charges of vehicular homicide, Driving Under the Influence, vehicular assault and multiple counts of aggravated reckless assault.

The medical examiner on the scene of the crash confirmed one passenger was dead. The victim was identified as 18-year-old Madison Percell, a senior at Hardin Valley Academy.

Investigators spoke with the multiple victims at the UT Medical Center.

The first victim said he was riding in the bed of the truck and was ejected during the crash and knocked unconscious, according to THP. Troopers stated the victim said he remembered, the driver, Boles, being in sixth gear at the time of the crash. The victim continued to say that in order for Boles to be in sixth gear, he had to have been traveling 70 to 80 miles per hour, the incident report stated.

Officials said a second passenger was unable to recount the incident due to a severe concussion but stated he was probably in the bed of the truck.

A third passenger, who was transported to UT Medical by helicopter, said she was sitting in the cab of the truck and was possibly ejected. She suffered serious bodily injuries as a result of the crash.

A THP report stated the victim told investigators Boles consumed seven shots of tequila and multiple margaritas at a restaurant. The victim said they were all served alcohol at the restaurant, according to THP.

The incident report revealed another passenger told investigators she was at the restaurant and consumed alcohol with everyone involved. She stated she was in the cab of the truck and was not ejected during the crash.

According to troopers, another passenger who was riding in the bed of the truck was ejected and knocked unconscious. The victim reportedly said when he woke up, he instantly went to the vehicle to help other passengers. The victim reportedly helped free another passenger who was pinned.

THP reported another passenger who was riding in the bed of the truck was also ejected and knocked unconscious. This victim stated he did not remember what happened and suffered serious bodily injuries.

“We had a graduation season tragedy last night. It appears some young Folks were celebrating in Knox County,” District Attorney General Dave Clark on Facebook.

We had a graduation season tragedy last night. It appears some young Folks were celebrating in Knox County. Whether...

Posted by Dave Clark, District Attorney General - Anderson County, TN on Saturday, May 22, 2021

Clark stated authorities are investigating the possibility that those involved were served alcohol at a commercial establishment. Clark said it was, “heartbreaking to see this scenario repeated too often at this time of year.”

“Well, my mom stepped out the door and asked them if they’re okay and we only heard screaming. And she told me to call 911 so I did. I told them there was a really bad wreck and they needed to hurry it up and get out here,” Jaden Daniel, a witness of the crash, told WVLT-News.

Boles is now due in court in early August.

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