Friday, November 24, 2017
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VET APPRECIATION—State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, was the featured speaker at Saturday’s Veterans Day service at the county courthouse. Alvarado encouraged the public to thank a vet and learn how they can give back by helping them. Photo by Tom Marshall.
Driver indicted for murder in fatal wreck case
By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

A McKee man was allegedly under the influence of multiple narcotics when he caused a traffic accident this past March that claimed the life of a 16-year-old Montgomery County High School student.

The Montgomery Grand Jury has charged Scotty Denell McKinney, 32, with murder, operating a motor vehicle under the influence (aggravating circumstances), first-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment.

The indictment alleges that McKinney “was driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and struck another vehicle, resulting in the death of the passenger, Savannah Smith.”

An indictment is a formal accusation of a crime, but does not establish guilt.

Smith was a sophomore honor student and band member at MCHS. She was remembered at the school with a balloon release on what would have been her 17th birthday last month.

The accident that took Savannah’s life occurred a little before 8 a.m. March 23 in the 3700 block of Levee Road.

Authorities found three vehicles involved.

They told the Advocate that the driver of a Ford 250 pickup reportedly crossed the center line while north on Levee Road and made contact with a semi-tractor and trailer loaded with lumber. McKinney was reportedly driving the pickup.

The semi, which was southbound, then struck a northbound vehicle driven by Savannah’s mother, Tammy Smith, according to authorities.
Savannah was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities took blood samples from McKinney, which were turned over to the state crime lab. Test results recently became available and confirmed the presence of narcotics, Det./Sgt. Ralph Charles of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said it appeared the mother and daughter were headed to school when the wreck occurred.

Tammy Stamper Smith was flown to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center for treatment of injuries suffered in the accident.
McKinney’s assault charge was filed for allegedly “causing serious physical injury to Tammy Smith.”

The wanton endangerment charge was filed for allegedly creating “a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury” to the operator of the semi, John W. Sowards.

The indictment alleges that the operating under the influence charge was McKinney’s second in the past 10 years.

Shortly after Savannah’s death was announced, Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Matt Thompson issued a statement saying that Savannah “was loved by everyone with which she came into contact.”
Savannah’s loss struck the community hard.

About 100 fellow students, family and friends joined together the day after the accident for a vigil at the high school. A separate vigil was held shortly afterward at Arby’s in Camargo, where Savannah worked.
At Long John Silver’s restaurant, employees wore blue ribbons in support of the family.

Savannah was also a member of Living Water Church. She moved to Montgomery County in 2010 from Booneville.

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