published Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Towboat trial continues in Hamilton County Criminal Court

Defense attorney Sam Hudson, right, points to defendant Charles Warren Luetke as he makes his opening statement Tuesday at the City-County Courts Building.
Defense attorney Sam Hudson, right, points to defendant Charles Warren Luetke as he makes his opening statement Tuesday at the City-County Courts Building.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Experts from the medical examiner's office and state and local investigators testified Wednesday in the second day of the trial for a local towboat captain charged in the 2010 deaths of two fishermen.

Charles Warren Luetke, 42, faces two charges of criminally negligent homicide in the deaths of Richard Wilkey, 52, of Soddy-Daisy, and Tim Spidle, 45, of Elizabethton, Tenn.

Wilkey and Spidle were passengers in a 17-foot boat driven by Wilkey's nephew, David "Chris" Wilkey. The three were fishing when a towboat piloted by Luetke and pushing nine barges smashed the smaller vessel on June 19, 2010.

Luetke also has been charged with reckless operation of a boat and failure to render assistance. If convicted, he would face one to six years in prison.

Dr. James Metcalf, the Hamilton County medical examiner, testified that tests showed Richard Wilkey's blood-alcohol level was 0.269 and Spidle's was 0.20. The legal limit for driving is 0.08.

Spidle and David Wilkey also had traces of THC, the active chemical component of marijuana, in their systems.

The trial resumes today in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.