What starts as a jaunt on a tractor ends up as a terrible accident with one friend dead and another friend charged with reckless homicide.
The accident occurred around 5 p.m. Wednesday on Dutch Creek Road near Fairfield Road in Westmoreland. A passerby discovered the body and called police.
According to authorities, James Perry, 54, and his best friend Ronald Blankenship were riding together on a tractor.
Perry was driving when Blankenship fell off. Perry tried to avoid his friend and ran off the road into a tree, but he hit Blankenship, who was then under the tractor.
Investigators said that's when Perry panicked, and fled from the scene on the tractor.
"He ran over him with the tire of the tractor. He panicked running out of the ditch, running over the victim again; then fled the scene," Sheriff Sonny Weatherford told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.
A.J. Perry has cried much of the night his father is now in jail and always considered Blankenship as an uncle.
"My dad has been my everything. He has been my rock. He has been there for me," he said. "
A.J. added, "My dad would never do nothing to hurt nobody like that. I can imagine what's going through his mind running over your best friend."
Investigators collected evidence and arrested Perry five hours later.
Authorities said he didn't deny it and was very distraught.
"If he had just reported it at the time, it would have probably been wrote down as just an accident," Sheriff Weatherford said.
Authorities also said that the men were drinking and Perry did not have a license.
He is booked into the Sumner County jail and faces charges of murder due to reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and driving on a revoked license.
The District Attorney said they will look into whether or not any DUI charges may be added.
Perry's bond was set at $100,00 and he is expected to appear in court on May 8.
Thursday, August 28 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-28 19:28:07 GMT
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