Driver's Deal Angers Family

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - Police say the man was drunk, driving the wrong way, and likely speeding when he slammed into a car head-on.

But state sentencing guidelines could let him out of prison before serving a third of his sentence.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd reports one victim's family, now questions how that could happen.

Jessica Jones's mother says she'd planned to confront Clint Walker when he changed his plea in court Wednesday morning.

But when time came, she choked, the words weren't there.

They are now.

"I go to my daughter's grave every day, I don't miss a day. Where's he been Christmas and thanksgiving, with his mom and Dad?" In four days, Debra Jones marks a year since her daughter Jessica, and her friends Nick and Josh McMillan died, when Clint Walker, driving the wrong way on I-640, hit their car head-on. "I wanted to hurt him. If I'd walked up to him I would have grabbed him."

"It's wrong, he did not get enough time, I don't know what you all are thinking," says Tonya Dudley, Jessica's Aunt.

By pleading guilty to three counts of vehicular homicide, Clint Walker avoids the threat of consecutive sentences.

He could spend 15 years in prison.

But be eligible for parole in four and a half.

"Both family's agreed to this?"

"Yes."

Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Gill says 15 years is three more than Walker likely would have gotten had a jury convicted him as a first offender.

But with a blood alcohol level police say was more than twice the legal limit

"Did Tennessee get justice in this? Did the families get justice in this? I think they got fairness and justice under the law as it is in Tennessee. Yes." Gills says.

Walker's Attorney says his client is very remorseful.

That what happened is the tragedy of good people, hurting good people.

"He gets to live in prison, He gets to watch TV he can eat, he can go to school, do everything there, just Jessica's gone," Dudley.

Jessica's Aunt and mother are left with only pictures, a lock of hair, candles, clippings, and crosses.

"I'd like to say Clint Walker, you're gonna have a life. Another life. My daughter don't have one,
What he's took, he took everything from me," says Jones.

We've been unable to reach Josh and Nick McMillan's family for comment.

Prosecutor John Gill says no prison sentence ever seems enough when you measure it against a loss of life.

Wednesday's plea agreement also settles a civil lawsuit the Jones and McMillans filed against Clint Walker.

Jessica Jones family's share, after attorney fees and court costs, is a little more than $37,000.


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