Teaster jailed on new charges

Apr. 04, 2014 @ 11:42 PM

Former Pigeon Forge High School volunteer baseball coach Wesley Teaster is now charged with another violation of probation and new drug violations, after a grand jury returned an indictment charging him with two counts of sale and delivery of marijuana, and after he tested positive for narcotics while in his latest stint of rehab.

Teaster, who is on probation for reckless vehicular homicide, returned to the Sevier County Jail Wednesday and remained there Thursday. In December, a judge ordered him to spend a year at a faith-based drug and alcohol recovery facility in Alabama.

However, an affidavit from his probation officer indicates he was cited for violation of probation this week after he allegedly failed a random drug test while in the inpatient treatment center on March 25, and acknowledged taking illicit drugs while he was supposed to be in recovery.

He’s been found in violation of his probation on two previous occasions since 2009, when he admitted he was responsible for a wreck that took the life of a passenger in his car.

Sheriff Ron Seals said the presentments for trafficking were the result of occasions when Teaster sold marijuana to undercover law enforcement agents.

Teaster pleaded guilty in 2009 to reckless vehicular homicide, admitting that he was at fault in a May 4, 2008, wreck that killed Jeremy Chesney, a passenger in his car. Both Chesney and Teaster were volunteer assistant coaches on the Pigeon Forge High School baseball team; Teaster is the grandson of Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster.

Judge Ben Hooper originally accepted the terms of a plea agreement that gave Teaster a chance to avoid jail time and have the conviction removed from his record if he successfully completed five years of probation.

But Teaster has piled up repeated violations of that probation, which have resulted in months spent in jail and in Hooper taking away his shot at erasing the charge from the record.

The latest violation of probation marks his third in five years.

Teaster’s troubles with the law started with the 2008 wreck. Police said he was driving on Kingfisher Drive when he lost control of his Jeep in a curve. The vehicle overturned, ejecting both men. Chesney died at the scene, and Teaster suffered injuries as well.

A blood test initially indicated Teaster was intoxicated while behind the wheel. However, later tests ordered by defense attorney Bryan Delius showed the same sample didn’t contain drugs medical personnel administered to Teaster between the time of the accident and the taking of the sample. The blood was also drawn more than two hours after the wreck, which at the time of the case meant it would have been inadmissible.

Delius also argued Teaster was diabetic and used an insulin pump that was ripped from his body during the wreck, which could have affected the blood test results.

Teaster has settled a civil suit filed by Chesney’s family; the terms of the settlement were not released to the public.

While he had the chance to stay out of jail and to clear his name, Teaster has stayed in trouble with his probation office since the plea agreement.

His first violation came in August 2010, after he sideswiped another driver on the Parkway. The driver called police and said Teaster had left without stopping; he maintained he had signalled for the man to follow him.

A charge of leaving the scene of an accident was tossed in that case because the judge ruled the officer failed to properly inform Teaster of his rights when taking his statement.

However, the judge noted Teaster had amassed additional violations that included a speeding ticket and taking illicit drugs, and sentenced Teaster to spend 90 days in the Sevier County Jail.

His second probation violation came last August, when his probation officer cited him for being involved in another wreck and more traffic citations, as well as failing random drug tests. After that arrest, he remained in jail until December, when the judge took away his chance at a deferred sentence and ordered him to complete a year in the Alabama-based rehab program.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com