A Knoxville, Tennessee, man was taken into custody last weekend after police discovered a severed human torso on the floor of the man’s car.
According to court records, suspect Dorrae Debrice Johnson, 29, was involved in a hit-and-run that occurred around 3:30 am on June 16 while being pursued by authorities.
The chase started when, after being pulled over by Tennessee Highway Patrol, Johnson sped away as the trooper approached his vehicle on foot.
During the chase, Johnson is said have veered off the road onto the sidewalk where he hit and killed 65-year-old Darryl Eugene Butler before crashing into a utility pole, at which point he was apprehended by police, reported Knox News.
According to a police report: “The driver continued on until he lost control of the vehicle and hit a utility pole. The driver then fled on foot from the vehicle. The trooper was able to catch up to the suspect and took him into custody.”
In a facebook post from the Volunteer Ministry Center, Butler was said to have been living in a low income housing complex about a mile from the scene of the crime, prior to which he is said to have been homeless.
“Even though life had not always been easy, Darryl was a bigger than life personality and will be remembered for his smile, contagious positive attitude, and always having a story to share with others,” wrote the center.
Johnson was charged with vehicular homicide, felony evading arrest, and driving on a revoked license. He also later admitted to being under the influence.
After Johnson was taken into custody, an officer, while attempting to turn off the car’s ignition, discovered a severed torso laying on the floorboards on the passenger side of the car.
It remains unclear as to how Butler’s torso made its way into the car and onto the passenger side floorboards. A police spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing and no other information is available.
According to Knox County court records, Johnson was convicted of driving under the influence in November 2017, when he received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days, spending only 48 hours in jail.
Johnson was again charged with driving under the influence in January when records indicate that he failed a sobriety test after almost running into a guardrail on Interstate 275.
Drunk Driving Statistics
On any given day, nearly 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, according to 2017 figures published by the United States Department of Transportation.
This is equivalent to one lost life every 48 minutes or just over 10,000 deaths per year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17 percent) involved a driver operating under the influence of alcohol.
More than 1 million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Deaths due to drunk-driving have fallen by a third in the last three decades, the DOT notes.
Crash Deaths in the United States
Tens of thousands of people are killed and millions injured each year from motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. The CDC says these deaths cost more than $380 million in direct medical costs.
The major risk factors for crash deaths in the United States are: not using seat belts, car seats, and booster seats (factors in over 9,500 crash deaths); drunk driving (a factor in more than 10,000 crash deaths); and speeding (contributing to more than 9,500 crash deaths).
According to 2017 data from the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.
These further break down as follows: the most common are unintentional poisoning deaths (58,335), followed by motor vehicle traffic deaths (40,327), and unintentional fall deaths in third place (34,673).
The total number of emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in the United States in 2017 was 30.8 million, according to the CDC.
The 10 leading causes accounted for 74 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2017.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.