Man charged with vehicular homicide

Stems from head-on collision with vacationing family
Jan. 14, 2013 @ 05:55 PM

A Blount County man is now facing homicide charges stemming from a July wreck that killed three vacationers.

A Sevier County Grand Jury returned a sealed presentment last week charging 27-year-old Shawn Russell Dunlap, of Maryville, with three counts of vehicular homicide and a single count of reckless aggravated assault.

Dunlap was driving a pickup truck south on Wears Valley Road at about 6:42 a.m. July 7, when he crossed into the northbound traffic lane and collided head-on with another car.

The impact killed the driver of the car, 26-year-old Ashish Dembla, and Dembla’s parents, 57-year-old Satpal Dembla and 51-year-old Anjali Dembla. His sister, 20-year-old Kanika Dembla, was injured in the wreck.

Dunlap, who is the son of Blount County Highway Superintendnet Bill Dunlap, was also injured in the wreck. He was not charged with driving under the influence; at the time of the wreck he allegedly told law enforcement officers he had fallen asleep while driving.

Ashish Dembla was a medical student studying at Georgia Tech University. His parents and sister had come from Rohini Delhi, India, to spend time with him and they planned to vacation in Pigeon Forge, according to reports.

An official with the District Attorney General's office said Monday Dunlap was charged with vehicular homicide, but also faces the lesser charge of reckless homicide.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com