Drunk Driver Convicted after Driving 90 M.P.H. in Wrong Lane

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s DUI Unit obtained a conviction against a woman who was drunk driving at ninety miles per hour in the wrong lane of traffic.  Ellen Ashley Authement, 24, was found guilty-as-charged of Driving Under the Influence 1st Offense.  Judge Hector Sanchez set the case for sentencing on February 23.

In a two-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Greg Eshbaugh and Liza Guben explained to the jury that on March 28, 2020, at approximately 2:00 AM, Authement was traveling on Kingston Pike at ninety miles per hour in the wrong lane of traffic, nearly striking two vehicles.  When stopped by Knoxville Police Department Ofc. Richard Rautio, Authement smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot, watery eyes and slurred speech, and had an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the car.  When asked, Authement stated she was coming from UT’s campus even though she was headed in the opposite direction, and she could not remember how she got to Kingston Pike.  KPD Ofc. Darren Carden administered field sobriety tests that Authement failed.  Additionally, a breathalyzer showed Authement had a blood alcohol content of 0.183, more than twice the legal limit.

“This egregious behavior put other motorists at risk and certainly warrants an enhanced sentence,” said DA Charme Allen.  “With the prevalence of ridesharing apps, impaired driving is completely avoidable.”

The mandatory minimum for a DUI 1st Offense is forty-eight hours in jail, DUI School, a $350 fine, and a license revocation of one year.  At sentencing, prosecutors will seek additional jail time above the minimum to serve as a deterrent for future impaired driving.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Brittany Wilhelmson aided in the prosecution of this case.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or Sean.McDermott@knoxcounty.org. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at dag.knoxcountytn.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.