Last updated: June 10. 2014 4:52PM - 7857 Views
By - manders@civitasmedia.com



James D. Capps
James D. Capps
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A Cumberland Gap man has been sentenced to 17 years in connection with a wreck that occurred July 15, 2013.


James Darrell Capps, 30, pleaded guilty last week in Claiborne County Criminal Court to vehicular assault, for which he was sentenced to five years and vehicular homicide, for which he was sentenced to 12 years. The terms will run consecutively for an effective 17 years, according to the plea agreement.


He will serve 12 years at 30 percent in prison before he is eligible for parole then five years of supervised probation after completion of his incarceration, according to the agreement.


One man was killed in the wreck and three people injured, including Capps.


The case against Capps was presented by LaTasha Wassom, a specialized DUI prosecutor with the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.


“When a family goes through a tragedy such as this, no sentence is long enough and can’t begin to make up for the life that was lost,” said District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones. “However, under the law, we felt this was a substantial sentenced based on the evidence we had and were going to present at trial.”


Capps was represented by attorney Mike Hatmaker.


According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) report, Capps was driving a 2000 black Lincoln LLS west on Londonderry Road near the intersection with Old Jacksboro Pike around 3:35 p.m. when he crossed the center line into the eastbound lane while negotiating a curve.


His vehicle crashed into a 1998 red Honda Accord driven by Patsy Nelson, 54, of Speedwell. Her passenger and husband, Mark Nelson, also 54, was killed. According to the report, the Nelsons were wearing a seat belt. Patsy Nelson was injured and taken to a local hospital.


Capps was injured and taken to an area hospital. A passenger in the Capps vehicle, Curtis L. Mills, 29, of Cumberland Gap, was also injured in the wreck and taken to a local hospital.


According to the THP report, alcohol and drugs were suspected to have been a factor in the wreck and Capps was later tested.


Capps was indicted in September for DUI second offense, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide. He was arrested and released on a $60,000 secured bond at that time.


Capps was ordered to report to the Claiborne County Jail on July 2 to begin serving his sentence.


“We want to thank law enforcement for their help and cooperation with this case,” Phillips-Jones added.


THP Trooper Toby Cameron was the investigating officer on the case.


Marisa Anders may be reached at 423-626-3222 or on Twitter @newsgirl88. Follow the Claiborne Progress on Twitter @ClaibProgressTN.


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