Friends and family remember "Chuckie"

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Sevier County (WVLT) - A Sevier County eye doctor could face charges after authorities say he ran his car into a home, killing a man and injuring the man's wife.

A strange case here and it may not have started out as an accident.

The pickup's driver had been arrested on DUI charges over Labor Day weekend.

And inside his truck, according to witnesses, Troopers found a suicide note and a man who told them he wanted to die.

Chuck Finchum was battling cancer.

"He was Chuckie you know, he was all the time pulling a joke on someone or trying to do something trying to keep his spirits high," says Terry Finchum, the victim's nephew.

Like for instance Saturday night, inside this tent, Chuckie held an auction for a friend.

"We had just done a benefit the night before raising money up for one of his friends, made up a lot of money because he was fighting cancer," Terry says.

Nearly $14,000 , but Chuckie's battle with cancer was cut short Sunday night.

A truck driven by 56-year-old Doctor Edward Smith went out of control on Newport Highway in Sevier County, struck a tree and crashed into Chuckie's porch, where he was asleep on the couch.

"He pinned him against the truck and pushed him all the way to the house," Terry explains.

Finchum says his uncle, and one of his dogs Thelma, was killed in the incident while his aunt got some glass in her foot.

Finchum says troopers told them Dr. Smith had a suicide note in his truck.

"The first officer on the scene got a note and he was begging him to shoot him in the head, trying to kill him as he got him out of the truck," Terry says.

No charges have been filed, yet. Sunday night's incident only adds to Dr. Smith's legal troubles, he was arrested in Knoxville and charged with DUI on September 1st.

Now, as Dr Smith recovers at UT, Chuckie's relatives deal with grief, anger, and frustration.

"You know, it will make you mad, but it's always the innocent person that get's hurt, you know."

Chuckie's wife, Michelle suffered cuts from broken glass, one of Chuckie's dogs also died in the crash, while two others were injured.

Doctor Smith is in stable condition tonight at UT Medical Center.

He'll be in court in Knoxville to face the DUI charge from Labor Day weekend, October 3rd.


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