A Greenback man has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide for a wreck that killed a local woman in November 2018.
Tracy Lee Oliver, 48, was sentenced Dec. 11 to 18 years in prison by Loudon County Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks. Oliver was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular assault and reckless endangerment.
While driving a 2000 Ford Excursion on Nov. 19, 2018, Oliver rammed into the back of a 2008 Mazda MZ6, which was stationary at a red light on U.S. Highway 321. A passenger in the back seat, 21-year-old Kyrstin Sensabaugh of Kingston, was trapped and appeared in critical condition. She was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she later died. Two Lenoir City residents in the car were injured.
When Lenoir City police officers arrived on scene, Oliver was standing outside his vehicle unharmed.
Subsequent blood tests showed Oliver’s blood alcohol level at 0.171, according to a press release from 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson’s office. The legal limit in Tennessee is 0.08. Additional blood sample testing contained Phentermine 0.5 ug/ml, Citalopram 0.07 ug/ml, Delta9-THC 8ng/ml, THC-OH6 ng/ml and THC-COOH 76 ng/ml.
Officers found “numerous” empty beer cans and suspected marijuana paraphernalia and edible products.
“Sometimes we are asked if an outcome like this is a ‘win’,” Johnson said in an email correspondence. “You never win in cases like this one. A conviction of Tracy Oliver obviously does not bring Kyrstin back to life or undue the damage to the two other victims who miraculously survived. Sending Oliver to prison for a lengthy sentence will forever impact him and, unfortunately, his family, but maybe, just maybe someone will read about this case and see Kyrstin’s photo on Facebook or in the newspaper and it will make them think a little longer next time they think about getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk or high — or both.”
Oliver stipulated in court as part of his plea that his intoxication resulted in the death of Sensabaugh and injuries to two others. He had driving under the influence convictions in 2007 and 2017 in Blount County.
“Stephanie Sensabaugh, mother to Kyrstin, told the court in her victim impact statement about arriving at the hospital to see her daughter who had no brain activity and the impact that losing her has had,” according to the press release. “Kyrstin was a graduate of Tennessee School of Beauty’s esthetician program and had plans to be a make-up artist, according to her mom. She also wanted to get married and have children. The family has even had to move from their house because of the so many memories of their daughter in the house made life there without Kyrstin unbearable.”
Stephanie Sensabaugh read a statement from one of the people hurt in the wreck who said she “could never approach a stop light without first flinching and having panic attacks at red lights on sudden stops.”
Oliver remains on bond with conditions requiring him to wear an ankle monitor until he reports Jan. 25, 2021, to Loudon County Jail to begin his sentence.
“While I would not characterize it as a ‘win’ at least this is the end result of an often lengthy and tortuous process that is designed to bring some measure of justice, no matter how small, to the beautiful memory of Kyrstin Sensabaugh,” Johnson said in an email correspondence. “Her future and her life were both snuffed out by the senseless and selfish act of an intoxicated driver who put himself behind the wheel of his truck and made it a weapon on the roadway. He not only killed Kyrstin, he forever injured physically and emotionally two of Kyrstin’s friends.
“In all it is cold comfort to Kyrstin’s family, but maybe it will allow them and her friends to move on while Oliver has a long time to think about what damage he caused so many people, including himself and his family,” he added.
Joe Caldwell, assistant district attorney, and victim/witness coordinator Holly Miller handled the case for Johnson’s office.
Tommy Hindman, Oliver’s attorney, could not be reached for comment by News-Herald presstime.