Morristown man pleads guilty in Cocke County vehicular homicide case

A Morristown man entered a guilty plea to a vehicular homicide charge Tuesday in Cocke County Circuit Court. The charge stemmed from an August 2020 crash in the Glendale community.

Trooper Ronnie Hall of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the crash involved a 2011 Ford van operated by Estuardo Perez Aguilar, 28, Morristown. The van was traveling south on Glendale Road when it traveled into the ditch line. The vehicle then struck a standing utility pole, which broke and fell onto the vehicle.

First Responders had to use their jaws of life to free the occupants of the van who were flown by medical helicopter to the Johnson City Medical Center.

The front seat passenger, Luis Vallata Garcia, 37, Morristown, died as a result of his injuries.

Hall said both occupants had been consuming alcohol prior to the crash.

Aguilar was given an eight-year sentence by Judge Carter Moore, however, he will serve a year in jail with the balance on supervised probation. The defendant will pay a $1,000 fine, attend DUI school, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and lose his driving privileges for 10 years.

A man who has sued the Cocke County Sheriff's Department as a result of an assault in the county jail has pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for resale as well as theft.

Nathaniel Dexter Manning, 32, Lehigh Drive, Newport, was given a four-year sentence. He will serve six months in jail with the balance on supervised probation. However, the defendant may attend a long term drug rehab program in lieu of the jail term. The court was told Manning has been accepted into such a program.

While in jail, last December, Manning was assaulted requiring him to receive treatment at the Newport Medical Center. Fellow inmate Kenny Ray Odell was charged with aggravated assault in the incident.

Moore also issued arrest warrants for several defendants who did not appear for their scheduled hearings: Fabrina Amburn, Amanda Leeann Ball, Robert David Davis, Ricky Haney, Billy Ray Mathis, Ryan Samples, Trinity Sells, Douglas Shropshire, Franklin Ezra Shropshire, James Lee Turner, Jason Randall Williams, Kimberly Manning, Charlie McMahan, Christopher Pabon, Tanya Ramsey, Donna Vetrano and Thomas Vick.