Shannon found not guilty on DWI charges, pleads guilty to reckless driving
GRAVETTE — Todd Shannon, formerly a police officer in Gravette, pleaded guilty Sept. 20 to reckless driving in connection with an April 23 accident in Gentry. He was found not guilty on charges related to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and refusal to submit to testing for alcohol blood content due to a lack of evidence.
According to Jay Williams, city attorney for Gentry, “for a variety of reasons, the State rested without presenting evidence on the DWI. Mr. Shannon was found not guilty of that charge.”
According to Shannon, he was in the hospital almost a month. He suffered five broken ribs, and his jaw was broken in five places. He was placed on a ventilator and given a chest tube after a lung collapsed. A tracheotomy was performed because of his inability to get off the ventilator, and he wore the trach tube for 2½ weeks.
Shannon, who was a Gravette police officer at the time of the accident, was dismissed from his job at the police department less than a week after being released from the hospital. Several reasons were given, including the inability to perform his duties as an officer. Shannon, a Gravette native, had been a police officer 3½ years.
Shannon was also denied unemployment compensation by Arkansas Workforce and has appealed that decision, he said. He has retained an attorney and plans to sue the city of Gravette and the police department for wrongful termination and denial of unemployment, he explained.
According to an April Gentry Police Department press release, Shannon crashed the pickup truck he was driving into two parked vehicles and damaged the Gentry Motel on Arkansas Highway 59 in the April accident.
Shannon’s vehicle, a tan Ford pickup truck, was traveling northbound on Arkansas Highway 59 “before crossing over the southbound lanes and leaving the roadway at or near the intersection of Highway 59 and East First Street,” the release stated. “The Shannon vehicle then struck two street signs, a motel sign and the two parked cars before finally coming to rest in the motel parking lot.”
According to the release, “contact from the Shannon vehicle is what propelled” a yellow Ford sport-utility vehicle into the motel building and a green Ford car into the ditch. The yellow Ford SUV, owned by David Brannon of Gentry, and the green Ford car, owned by Kimberly VanHook of Bentonville, were not occupied at the time of the crash, the release stated.
The accident occurred at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, the release stated. Gentry officers responded to the crash to find a tan Ford pickup truck with very extensive front-end damage and airbag deployment sitting sideways in
front of Room 2 of the Gentry Motel. In front of the truck was a yellow Ford Escape SUV with very extensive front and rear damage, wedged against the front wall and door of Room 2. There was also a green Ford Escort with side panel damage sitting sideways in the ditch alongside Highway 59.
The release states that “officers made contact with the male and female occupants of the tan Ford pickup. Both had injuries and were being treated at the scene by medical personnel. The male driver was identified as Todd Shannon, 49, of Gravette … The female passenger was identified as Donna Shannon, 51, also of Gravette … Both occupants were transported by ambulance to the Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.”
According to police, the blood alcohol test requested of Todd Shannon was refused and he was cited at the hospital in connection with DWI and careless and prohibited driving and released.
Earlier this year, Todd Shannon was commended by the Gravette Police Department for performing CPR on an unconscious person in September of 2016 and saving the person’s life.
Officers of the Care and Share organization in Gravette present a $45,000 check to the Gravette Fire Department at the Sept. 28 City Council meeting. The money, which was raised from proceeds at Care and Share thrift stores, will be used for life packs, which are used on almost every call the fire department makes. Pictured are David Orr, fire captain (left); Lonnie Mullen, fire chief; Mayor Kurt Maddox; Wilma Fladager, Care and Share treasurer; and Harold Roberts, Care and Share president.