Chasity Perry, an emergency medical technician from Nashville Fire Department would have not imagined that her life and those of six others will change due to a fatal DUI accident June 6.
It was an half an hour before midnight in Clarksville Pike when a 2013 Subaru Sedan driven by an intoxicated Carl Dollarhide Jr., crashed head-on to a 2004 Acura SUV carrying a family with four children. Stacy Thorton, 29 died on the spot while the 10-month old Maddie Belt, now paralyzed from waist down, was brutally wounded. Three other children in the car, age 2, 5 and 7 received less serious wounds. Thorton’s boyfriend Lawrence Belt, also 29, suffered multiple injuries.
Dollarhide, who is now 21, was also severely injured from the accident. As witnessed by Assistant District Attorney General Chandler Harris in court, Dollarhide was drinking all day from Hickory Lake until dinner before the accident. It was also revealed in court that alcohol was obtained inside his car making him at fault of driving under the influence. Harris added that the suspect also has traces of marijuana in his system and an alcohol blood content of 0.22 percent which is triple the allowed limit.
Dollarhide, the alleged drunk driver, was found guilty of the crimes including vehicular homicide due to drunkenness, vehicular and aggravated assault as well as reckless endangerment. He was sentenced to jail for three years and was subjected to an eight year probation. Before he can appeal for a parole, he should stay in jail for at least one year. Since his indictment was on November last year, there is a chance that he could be freed later this year.
Thorton’s family expressed their disappointment in the case hearing, saying that it was too lenient of a decision. Vickie Hess, Stacy Thorton’s aunt, voiced out that the decision of the court will not teach Dollarhide a lesson.
Maddie Belt, now one year old, will not have the chance to experience her first walk as she is now partially paralyzed from waist down. Her grandmother Becky Thorton was tearful as she looked at Maddie who can move only her right arm and head as she she sat in her purple wheelchair in court. The death of Stacy, who had touched so many lives, was also mourned by her family and relatives. The senior Thorton, described her daughter Stacy as a mother who dearly loved her children and actively participated in breast cancer awareness urging people to help those who are in need.
Dollarhide’s defense lawyer, Ed Yarbrough, said that the court’s decision was fair to provide his client the chance to rehabilitate. Yarbrough admitted that it was a terrible accident which should never have happened and that Dollarhide has taken full responsibility for what he did. He believes that Dollarhide is capable of changing himself and can eventually become a useful citizen.
Meanwhile, Perry who was the medic during the accident and was in emergency service for 11 years suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome on account of the incident. It disabled her to work and early this year, she left her job.