A Gallatin man has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide after police say he fatally struck a pedestrian with his SUV and fled the scene Monday afternoon.
According to Gallatin police, 31-year-old Keith Lamonte Bell had been jogging when he was struck by the vehicle at Britton Avenue and Joslin Avenue shortly after 3 p.m. on Sept. 23. Bell was transported with serious injuries to Sumner Regional Medical where he later died.
“(Officers) searched the area and within minutes observed the white Jeep on the side of the road with an unresponsive white male sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine still running,” Investigator Charles Cook with the Gallatin Police Department wrote in an arrest affidavit obtained by the Gallatin News. “The white male was observed to have a hypodermic syringe in his hand.”
The driver, identified as 29-year-old Dwain Mitchell Patton, was given Narcan – a nasal spray that can be lifesaving by counteracting the effects of an opioid overdose – and also transported to the hospital for treatment.
He later refused to be interviewed by police without having an attorney present and was transported to the Sumner County Jail, according to the affidavit. He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury.
Bell’s death comes just four months after Patton was found unresponsive in his vehicle in a similar incident that occurred at the intersection of Stephanie Street and Duncan Street on May 26, according to court documents.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., two individuals discovered the 31-year-old “slumped in the seat with his head slumped forward,” Gallatin Police Officer Jared Roach wrote in the arrest affidavit. Patton’s vehicle was still running and in drive, but his foot was on the brake pedal.
A dose of Narcan was given to Patton when the Gallatin Fire Department arrived, which was successful in waking him up, according to police.
“I observed a fresh injection wound on Dwain’s right forearm, on the inside of his forearm, in an area that has a tattoo,” Roach wrote in the affidavit. “Dwain stated he got heroin from a friend, and it was the first time he has used this particular heroin and the first time he got the heroin from this friend.”
Patton was arrested and charged with his third driving under the influence (DUI) offence in connection with the case, according to court documents. He has two prior DUI convictions from August 2012 and June 2015. A criminal hearing for the case was scheduled for Oct. 15.
As of Tuesday, Patton was still being held in the Sumner County Jail on $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on Oct. 2.