Police evaluation showed semi driver charged in deputy’s death had marijuana in system

Deputy was responding to reports of debris in the roadway.
Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 7:08 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2022 at 12:30 PM EST
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Sgt. Chris Jenkins Procession

Loudon County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed in a crash that occurred early Thursday morning on I-75 North. https://bit.ly/3rrixJy

Posted by WVLT on Friday, February 4, 2022

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The semi truck driver accused of hitting and killing a Loudon County Sheriff deputy was under the influence at the time of the crash, according to a report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol. WVLT News obtained a list of warrants for the driver, which said he was under the influence of marijuana.

Christopher Savannah, 43, faces several charges following the crash, which occurred on Interstate 75 near the Tennessee River Bridge Thursday morning. Loudon County deputy Sgt. Chris Jenkins was reportedly killed after Savannah failed to slow down after a rolling barricade, which was implemented while Sgt. Jenkins removed debris from the roadway.

According to the report, Savannah struck several cars and Sgt. Jenkins, killing him.

“Sgt. Jenkins with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to remove a ladder from the roadway,” the report said. “Multiple vehicles had slowed due to Sgt. Jenkins conducting a rolling road block before stopping on the right shoulder. Vehicle one struck vehicles two and four before striking Sgt. Jenkins.”

THP said in the arrest warrant that Deputy John Mayes conducted a Drug Recognition Expert evaluation and determined that Savannah was clinically under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.

Savannah was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide by recklessness, reckless endangerment x2, DUI, simple possession, possession of a handgun under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and other traffic charges.

Officials with the THP are leading the investigation.

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