Greenbrier woman charged with DUI after backing SUV into Gallatin lake

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GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Greenbrier woman had a close brush with disaster after police say she backed her SUV down a Gallatin boat ramp completely submerging the vehicle.

It all happened around 8 p.m. Sunday night at the Gallatin marina. It’s here that police and fire found Katherine Vaughn soaking wet, clinging to the rear end of a boat.

Lt. Pete Ritchie of Gallatin Police Department tells News 2, “the driver was under the influence of something, we believe it to be alcohol.”

On bodycam, you can hear the arriving Gallatin officer try to talk to the woman, who at times cries, and at other times is unintelligible.

Officer: “Do you know where you are at right now?”

According to Gallatin police, the 33-year-old backed her Dodge Durango down the boat ramp and into the lake.

You can hear the officer talking to witnesses nearby.

Officer: “Did you all witness the car go over?”
Witness: Ho. We heard it. We tried to stop her in the parking lot, but she about took us out.

“When officers started asking questions, she was incoherent, not making a lot of sense,” said Lt. Ritchie.

Before help arrived, police say other citizens at the marina helped get Vaughn clear of the sinking SUV.

“It looks like someone did fish her out,” Lt. Ritchie said.

Before being loaded into the back of an ambulance headed to the hospital, Vaughn said: “I drove my car in the water. Like, I drove my car in the water!”

Video of Vaughn’s car being hoisted out of the lake shows water pouring from the passenger compartment.

“She made admissions to officers, she had been drinking earlier, she said roughly four beers and a couple of shots,” said Lt. Ritchie.

Ritchie tells News 2 that nobody was hurt, but this incident had the potential to be tragic.

“Yeah, drinking and driving is a crime we believe is completely preventable,” said Lt. Ritchie.

A 26-year veteran, Lt. Ritchie says he has never worked a DUI case quite like this one.

Katherine Vaughn was charged with DUI and booked into the Sumner County Jail. Gallatin Police tell News 2 that this is Katherine Vaughn’s first DUI.

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