A felony charge has been leveled against a man who slammed head-on into an oncoming vehicle Wednesday morning on Smithville Highway, leaving two injured.
The driver, Justin W. Estes, 34, is charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment as well as driving on a revoked license. Injured was his passenger, Mary McKelvey, along with the driver of the other vehicle, Julie Myers, 38.
According to a report of the wreck filed by McMinnville policeman Gabriel Harbin, police were already responding to the area moments before the wreck after receiving a call of a man sitting in the parking lot of McDonald’s, slamming his head against the steering wheel of his vehicle. The suspect drove off as police arrived, jumping the curb at KFC and entering Smithville Highway.
The officer said he tried to hurry and catch up to the vehicle. “The vehicle jerked violently several times to the left, toward the median,” Harbin reported, noting he turned on his blue lights as the suspect’s Kia swerved across the median and hit Myers’ Nissan Rouge head-on.
While Estes’ passenger and Myers were transported from the scene for treatment, Estes tried to explain to officers what caused his erratic driving.
“He stated his throttle cable had broken and he had rigged up another cable that ran from under his hood and through the passenger window that he was using to accelerate his vehicle by hand,” Harbin said of the suspect’s story. “He stated the cable got hung up and that he lost control of the vehicle while trying to fix it, causing the accident.”
Estes was hit with the felony charge despite his unusual explanation.