Man charged in DUI crash that left passenger paralyzed in Joelton

Crime Tracker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 37-year-old man admitted he was drunk when he crashed on the interstate in Joelton, paralyzing his passenger from the neck down, a police report alleges.

According to an arrest warrant, Heath Lerma was driving a vehicle that crashed around 10:45 p.m. Friday on I-24 eastbound near the Whites Creek Pike exit. Lerma and his female passenger were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained in the single-vehicle wreck.

Heath Lerma
Heath Lerma (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

When police interviewed Lerma at the hospital, they said he admitted to drinking a “40” and taking two shots before getting behind the wheel.

Detectives spoke with the staff at Vanderbilt who advised the female passenger suffered major injuries and would be paralyzed from the neck down.

Upon his release from the hospital, Lerma was booked into the Metro jail Monday afternoon on a charge of vehicular assault. His bond was set at $35,000.

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