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News Driver charged with death by motor vehicle

Donald Thomas Courtney

October accident led to death of Parker Mathis


A 20-year-old Franklin man who lost control of his truck and drove off the road last October, killing one passenger and seriously injuring another, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with felonies related to reckless driving and driving after consuming intoxicating substances as a minor. The indictment handed down during the superior court session on Wednesday, Jan. 12, charges Donald Thomas Courtney of Hidden Valley Road with one felony count of death by vehicle and one felony count of serious injury by vehicle.

Parker Andrew Mathis, 19, was killed in the Oct. 3 single-vehicle accident in which the Ford F-150 extended-cab pickup truck driven by Courtney failed to make a curve and rolled down an embankment on West Old Murphy Road.

Courtney and another passenger, Jeremy L. Taro, 20, were treated for minor injuries and released the same day from Angel Medical Center. A fourth passenger, Jesse Evan Welch, 23, who had been sitting in the rear of the truck cab with Parker, was admitted into intensive care for his injuries.


Courtney’s truck, after it was recovered from the creek bedParker, who was flown by emergency helicopter to Mission Hospital in Asheville, was pronounced dead the next day.

Tests of blood samples taken after the accident revealed that Courtney had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.8. According to a search warrant issued on Dec. 22, Courtney told staff at Angel Medical that before getting into his truck he had consumed eight beers and had smoked marijuana.

Courtney turned himself in last Thursday, the day after the indictment was announced. At press time, he remains in custody at the Macon County Detention Center in lieu of a $65,000 secured bond.



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