Shan­non found not guilty on DWI charges, pleads guilty to reck­less driv­ing

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - By Su­san Hol­land shol­land@nwadg.com

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.

Photo by Su­san Hol­land

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.

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