Court date reset for suspect accused in the deaths of pregnant mother, toddler

By  | 


William David Phillips, 33, told police that 'voices' told him to run over a stroller in Jefferson City, a report said. (Jefferson County Sheriff)

William David Phillips, the man accused in the deaths of a pregnant woman and her toddler was set to appear before a judge for the first time Tuesday, October 1. The judge reset Phillips court date to December 10 for futher mental evaluations.

Phillips was scheduled to appear before a judge on August 13, July 2 and June 25, but all three dates were reset.

Sierra Cahoon and her two- year old son were killed in a crash the Jefferson City Police Department called an intentional act of random violence.

Jefferson City Police said the two-year-old son and pregnant wife of a Carson-Newman University trainer Matt Cahoon died in the tragedy on Monday, June 17.

A GoFundMe started to help pay for funeral expenses nearly reached it's goal after raising nearly $53,000 in three days.

The fundraising page has been shared more than 10,000 times.

Police said Sierra Wilson Cahoon, 30, of Jefferson City, her son Nolan Cahoon, 2, was struck and killed at the intersection of Russell Avenue and West Main Street.

Sierra studied interior design at High Point University. Zemanek described her as Christ-driven and committed to her faith and family, "She loved being physically active, she was passionate about it. She had so much love for Matt and so much love for Nolan. She loved him more than anything in the world." Sierra and her husband, Matthew attended The Avenue Church in Morristown.

Sierra's neighbor, Kristen Johnson, says the family always went on walks. "They would walk all the time. And oftentimes as a family -- the three of them would walk together."

Police identified the driver as William David Phillips, 33, of Jefferson City. He was initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. Police said they believe the driver did not know the victims.

On Wednesday, police said Phillips is facing an additional charge of first-degree murder because the unborn baby of Sarah Cahoon did not survive.

On Tuesday, June 18, a prayer vigil honored the lives of Sierra, her unborn child, and Nolan. Nearly 200 students, faculty and staff packed into Ken Sparks Athletic Center on CNU's campus to share memories and show support for the Cahoon family.

“That’s one of the things that sets us apart in so many ways," said Carson Newman Director of Sports Medicine, Mike VanBruggen. “It is unfortunate under these circumstances, yes. But when the going gets tough the tough get going. We got going.”

"She obviously loved her little boy and her family. So I want to love my family like that because we're not promised another day," Johnson said.

Two other people were hurt. Police said Tillman Gunter, 61, of Jefferson City was struck at the East Main Street location. He is expected to survive.

According to court documents, Phillips told officers "a voice told him that he needed to go kill the meth addicts so he began driving very fast. He said the voice told him the baby stroller had meth in it, so he intentionally drove into it."

In a news release officers reported when they arrived on scene they found a vehicle lodged within a building. Officers discovered that an employee located within the building had been injured and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Officials released a statement regarding the crash on Tuesday.

"The Carson-Newman family mourns today over this tragic loss. Our hearts are breaking for one of our own. We take comfort in knowing that God also feels our pain and hears our prayers. Because of this, we ask for prayers for Matt and his family now and in the days ahead."

According to a release from the police department, first responders were called to the area of West Main Street and Russell Avenue at around 3:30 p.m. following reports of a crash involving a pedestrian.

Investigators arrived on scene and found a car lodged in a building. They also discovered that two pedestrians had been hit and killed on West Main Street. An employee inside the building was injured and transported to a local hospital.

Investigators said another pedestrian had been hit on East Main Street and was taken to a local hospital.

A fund at the University has been established to benefit the Cahoon family. Those wishing to contribute may give online to "The Randall and Kay O'Brien Benevolent Fund" at:

Donations may also be given by calling the University at 865-471-3233.

Anyone who wants to donate to the GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses should click here.

Copyright 2019 WVLT News. All rights reserved.