Gray Court woman is on trial again


Retrial Underway for Pamela Tackett; March 2018 Felony DUI charge from wreck on I-385.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - WLBG on-line


The re-trial of Pamela Tackett began just after lunch yesterday afternoon, under Judge Couch from Spartanburg. She’s charged with two counts of Felony DUI and one count of Child Endangerment from a March 28th, 2018 incident when the vehicle she was driving, with her small niece in the back seat, ran off I-385 into the median, struck a cable barrier, then plowed into a work truck from Bagwell Fencing of Spartanburg. 

Two workmen were struck. 28-year-old Zacheriah Ivey of Cowpens died a few days later. John Howell of Woodruff was also seriously injured but survived.

This past March, a first trial for Ms. Tackett ended in a mistrial being declared after the jury reported it could not reach a verdict.

Yesterday, Special 8th Circuit Assistant Solicitor R. Knox McMahon told the jury that the defendant failed the sobriety test at the scene. He said this was not due to alcohol consumption but that she was found to be on five different prescription medicines which had warning labels on them saying not to drive or operate machinery. He said she also had had traces of marijuana in her system.

Defense attorney David Stoddard of Anderson began his opening arguments telling the jury that Tackett suffers for some type of mental illness, similar to ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,’ and that a toxicologist said that her medication may have not been at a level that could impair her. He said the label on the medication said it may not will cause impairment. Anderson said Tackett took the marijuana for migraines the night before and that the level of it in her system was minimal.

The first witness for the prosecution had also testified back in March. Diane Conte indicated she was driving from West Columbia to work in Anderson as a public health specialist and saw the defendant’s car, “far behind me driving at various speeds and swerving through lanes.” She said she ended up on the shoulder to avoid her, then moments later came upon the wreck, just after it happened. She said she tried to assist the victims. The defense spent very little time cross-examining Ms. Conte.

A Simpsonville resident testified that she saw the accident happen, then crossed the traffic lanes to the scene, saying she feared for the life of the deceased victim when she saw him. “The other victim was screaming in pain, and his screaming was what I remembered. he was in agony it was nightmarish.” The second witness added, “I thought the defendant was talking to someone, I looked inside and asked her if she was ok, and then noticed the little girl in the back seat, the defendant never even turned around to look at the child. The little girl to me seemed to be in shock, she never uttered a word, never shed a tear, nothing.”

A Chicago area resident who testified in March was unable to be here. His testimony was read yesterday with Solicitor’s Investigator Walter Bentley in the witness chair, acting on behalf of the witness. This told of observing the defendant driving erratically. The transcript said as they approached the wreck scene they saw “a man flying in the air and landing on the highway in front of us.”

The opening day’s final witness was Greenville Medical Examiner, Dr. Ward, who described the injuries of the deceased victim, as requested by the Laurens County Coroner. The second day of the new trial for Pamela Tackett was to continue today.

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