Man accused of causing Cookeville crash that killed mother, sons has lengthy criminal history

Crime Tracker

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Pegram man accused of causing a crash that killed a mother and her two young sons in Cookeville has faced more than 20 criminal charges in Cheatham, Davidson, and Williamson counties since becoming an adult.

News 2 obtained an arrest record for Michael Shepherd from the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office, which shows the 25-year-old has been arrested at least 17 times since June 2014 on charges including arson, aggravated kidnapping and reckless endangerment. He has also faced four counts of driving on a revoked license, the most recent of which was in 2018.

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Shepherd also has five charges in Davidson County including drugs and domestic assault.

His most recent charge is in Williamson for evading arrest in October.

“It’s my understanding that he plead guilty in Williamson County last October in 2020 for felony evading arrest and he is on probation for that arrest. So I anticipate that there’ll be a violation of probation filed in Williamson county,” Putnam County District Attorney General Bryan Dunaway told media after the hearing Wednesday.

Shepherd was arrested Tuesday on three counts of vehicular homicide and evading arrest after police said he crashed a pick-up truck into a car driven by Amanda Chatman around 7:40 a.m. Tuesday at Interstate Drive and South Willow Avenue.

Chatman, 24, and her two children, ages three and four, were killed in the collision, according to investigators.

Wednesday morning, Shepherd appeared in Putnam County court for a bond hearing, however, the judge found Shepherd could not afford a lawyer and would need to be appointed a public defender. The judge rescheduled the bond hearing for February 17th.

Amanda Chatman
Amanda Chatman and her two sons, 4-year-old Alexton and 3-year-old Braydon.

Cookeville police said Shepherd was fleeing from Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers at the time of the fatal crash.

Shepherd is being held in the Putnam County jail.

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