One Killed and Four Arrested After Accident near Dodson Branch Highway

PUTNAM COUNTY, T.N., — A man was killed in a wreck near Dodson Branch Highway.  Investigators say the accident happened on Feb. 12th.  

The vehicle was occupied by five people and officials say four are now facing alcohol related charges.

The vehicle, driven by Nicole Wright, 29, of Cookeville, was traveling on a private access road at the time of the accident. Wright’s passengers included Lindsey Byars, 21,Stephanie Wegerbauer, 28, Mason Taft, 26, and Donald Walstrom, 50, all of Cookeville.

According to the report released by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the vehicle traveled onto the left shoulder of the road. Once entering the shoulder, the vehicle began to flip. Taft, who was, allegedly, the passenger behind the driver in the backseat, was partially ejected from the vehicle. Taft was pronounced dead on the scene.

Investigators say Taft, along with passengers Wegerbauer and Walstrom, were not wearing seatbelts. According to the report, if seat belts were used the outcome of this accident could have been avoided.

According to the report, alcohol was involved in this incident. The surviving three passengers were arrested for Public Intoxication and each of their bonds were set at $248.

Wright, the driver, has been charged with three counts of Reckless Endangerment, Driving While Under the Influence and Vehicular homicide. Wright’s bond has been set for a total of $75,000 and a hold set for the Vehicular Homicide charge.

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