Wesley Teaster arrested after probation violation

Allegedly used drugs, broke traffic laws
Aug. 20, 2013 @ 11:34 PM

Wesley Teaster was jailed this weekend for a second violation of probation based on allegations from his probation officer that he continues to get in wrecks, break traffic laws and use illicit drugs.

Judge Ben Hooper issued the warrant for Teaster’s arrest Friday, and Pigeon Forge police arrested him that day. He was being held without bond Monday at the Sevier County Jail.

Teaster was placed on probation and given the opportunity for judicial deferral in January 2010, after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide by reckless conduct for a May 4, 2008, wreck that resulted in the death of Jeremy Chesney and in serious injuries to Teaster. Both Teaster and Chesney were volunteer coaches on the Pigeon Forge High School baseball team; Teaster is the grandson of Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster.

The latest warrant against him, signed by Hooper and probation officer Emma Steel, says that an accumulation of violations led her to ask Hooper to issue a new warrant against Teaster.

“Through his reckless use of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, (and) copious amounts of alcohol, and the refusal to obey traffic laws the offender has demonstrated behavior that not only poses a threat to himself, but also makes him a threat to public safety,” the warrant states.

Teaster was cited for failure to yield the right of way after a April 2012 wreck that resulted in injury in Sevier County. He was again cited for speeding on July 16 in Pigeon Forge, the warrant states.

An accident report from the wreck last year indicates Teaster was allegedly exiting a gas station when he pulled into the path of a motorcycle rider on Wears Valley Road. Police said Monday that the July 16 speeding citation was for allegedly driving 38 mph in a 20 mph zone.

A few days after that citation, on July 19, a drug test indicated he had amphetamines and marijuana in his system. He admitted to using them as well as other illicit drugs, and also admitted to heavy consumption of alcohol every day, according to the warrant.

On an undisclosed date, the warrant says he failed to comply with instruction to complete an alcohol and drug treatment program. He had entered the Blount Memorial Emotional Health & Recovery Center, “but was discharged against medical advice when he expressed his wishes to leave the detox portion of the program before it was fully completed.”

Hooper previously sentenced Teaster to serve 90 days in jail in 2011 for his first probation violation, which came about after Teaster was charged with leaving the scene of another accident, cited for speeding in Blount County in another incident, and acknowledged using illicit drugs. The judge ordered Teaster to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment as part of that sentence.

Teaster had been charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Pigeon Forge in Aug. 27, 2010, when he collided with a car driven by a tourist. The charges were dropped after Judge Ben Strand tossed the statement Teaster gave police that day because they failed to properly inform him of his right against self-incrimination, and the second driver didn’t come to the hearing.

However, Teaster said during the 2011 probation violation hearing that he had signaled the second driver to follow him, but the man failed to do so and then called police.

At the time, Hooper allowed Teaster to remain on a path for judicial deferral, meaning he could have the chance to have the vehicular homicide conviction removed from his record if he completes his sentence.

In the wreck that killed Chesney, Sevierville police initially said they believed Teaster was intoxicated at the time of the incident, and court documents indicated blood tests showed he had alcohol in his system at the time of the wreck. But prosecutors didn’t pursue those allegations after a specially appointed prosecutor acknowledged the blood was drawn more than two hours after the accident, which made it inadmissible in court under regulations at that time. Defense attorney Bryan Delius also said the sample tested by prosecutors didn’t contain drugs that Teaster’s medical records indicated had been administered between the accident and the time the sample was drawn.

Teaster is diabetic, and his insulin pump was ripped from his body during the wreck. The special prosecutor assigned to his case indicated all of those factors weighed into his decision not to use the results of the test.

As a result, Teaster pleaded guilty in December of 2009 to the charge of vehicular homicide by reckless conduct, meaning he admitted that his reckless driving caused the accident that killed Chesney.

Police reports indicate that Teaster lost control of his Jeep while driving on Kingfisher Drive in Sevierville, causing it to overturn and eject both himself and Chesney.

Chesney’s family filed a $5 million civil suit against Teaster in Sevier County Circuit Court; court officials said Monday that complaint has been resolved.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com