Sheriff’s Office Clarifies Reports Regarding Bicyclist’s Death in Perry County, TN
PERRY COUNTY, TN. – According to an online news story published at buffaloriverreview.com, the Perry County Sheriff’s Office has made an effort to clarify reports regarding the death of a bicyclist January 2 in Perry County, Tennessee.*
News reports originally indicated that on January 2, Lora Mast, 45, of Pleasantville, Tennessee, was riding her bicycle on Highway 438 and tried to turn onto Lower Cane Creek Road, when she was rear-ended by a Chevrolet Blazer. Reports also said the driver of the Chevy, 30-year-old Shana Burcham, of Linden, Tennessee, was suspected of driving under the influence, so authorities were conducting a toxicology screening.
Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems wanted to set the record straight on some of this information for the public. First, he said, the Tennessee Highway Patrol was handling the accident investigation, not the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office had a conflict of interest, which was not reported, and the office removed itself from the investigation as soon as it learned of that conflict.
Second, Weems said, Mast was standing beside her bicycle in the shoulder of Highway 438 at the time of the accident; She was not turning onto Lower Cane Creek Road, Weems said.
Third, Burcham was not arrested and has not been accused by law enforcement of driving under the influence, Weems said. She did not show signs of intoxication at the scene. In all fatality crashes in the state of Tennessee, Weems said, the drivers involved have to be screened for drugs and alcohol, regardless of suspicion.
All drug and alcohol tests are processed through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, which takes about six weeks to generate results because of the large number of cases TBI handles.
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