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Texas truck driver gets 10 years after admitting to smoking pot prior to fatally striking Tennessee cop

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A Texas truck driver was sentenced today for his role in the death of an officer with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office who was struck while trying to clear a ladder from the roadway last year.

Houston resident Christopher Savannah, 43, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on November 15 after pleading guilty to Felony Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication and Felony Reckless Endangerment.

Sgt. Chris Jenkins

Around 8 a.m. on February 3, 2022, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Sgt. Chris Jenkins, 48, was killed while responding to a report of debris in the roadway in Loudon County, Tennessee.

Jenkins was attempting to remove a ladder from I-75 at mile marker 74 when he was struck by a semi truck driven by Savannah and died from his injuries a short time later.

“Savannah, instead of coming to a stop like surrounding traffic, plowed his 78,300 lbs. rig into at least two vehicles in front of him causing one of these vehicles to hit another. As the truck continued through the cars, the Freightliner struck Sgt. Jenkins as Jenkins exited his cruiser causing his immediate death,” said Russell Johnson – 9th Judicial District, District Attorney General.

“Savannah, who admitted to smoking marijuana before and while driving his rig, was determined at the scene through standardized field sobriety tests, and later by testing of a sample of his blood, to have been under the influence of marijuana when Savannah failed to stop his rig during a rolling roadblock that was being conducted by Sgt. Jenkins so that Jenkins could stop and remove an extension ladder from the middle of the northbound interstate lanes,” Johnson said.

The driver of the pickup that lost the ladder on the interstate was charged and convicted on three counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, according to Johnson.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol used handcuffs belonging to Sergeant Jenkins to arrest Savannah in 2022, according to the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.

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