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Former preacher charged as man loses arm
Crisp Springs Road wreck 12-2.jpg
Pictured is the scene on Crisp Springs Road on Oct. 16 after a vehicle left the road, snapped a utility pole, and struck a worker, causing serious injuries. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

A man who has preached at several local churches has been arrested for DUI, vehicular assault, and reckless endangerment after hitting a worker who was weed-eating along Crisp Springs Road.

Johnny Lance, 54, was arrested Friday and faces the charges following an afternoon crash on Oct. 16.

The victim, John Hirsch, 69, lost an arm and has suffered several medical issues from the incident. According to the Highway Patrol, Hirsch has also endured bleeding on the brain, which has led to a stroke and he continues to be disoriented.

The Highway Patrol says a blood-alcohol test shows Lance was more than three times over the legal limit for intoxication when the crash took place.

According to the initial report, Lance was driving a white Nissan Frontier around 3:40 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Lance was on Crisp Springs Road, traveling from Old Nashville Highway toward Shelbyville Road.

Hirsch was reportedly weed-eating an estimated 10 to 15 feet off the road along a fence line. The Lance vehicle reportedly crossed the oncoming lane of travel, went off the road, crashed through a utility pole, and then struck Hirsch.

The Lance pickup then proceeded to travel through a cow pasture about a quarter of a mile before coming to rest.

“It was originally thought he had left the scene, but that wasn’t the case,” said state trooper Ben Cannon. “He had traveled so far through the field and over a slight hill that you couldn’t see his vehicle.”

When emergency responders arrived, they saw the severity of Hirsch’s injuries and immediately called for a helicopter to launch. Hirsch was airlifted from the scene.

“This was a horrible accident and we need to remember to pray for everyone involved,” said trooper Cannon.