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An Athens, Tennessee, man was charged Monday in the Sunday shooting death of a Madisonville resident who was apparently shot while riding in a car that later crashed into another car carrying five people from Englewood, three of them children.

Paul Shane Strickland, 46, is being held on an open court bond on one count of criminal homicide in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Christopher Garrett, according to a statement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The investigation involved the Tennessee Highway Patrol, police departments in Vonore and Madisonville, and deputies from sheriffs' offices in Monroe, Blount and Loudon counties.

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Paul Shane Strickland

Monroe County Sheriff Tommy Jones didn't return calls requesting comment on Tuesday.

Vonore Police Chief Ronny Lovingood said his department didn't get involved in the investigation until after the crash happened in Madisonville. The police chief referred further questions to the TBI.

The TBI says Strickland and Garrett were riding on U.S. Highway 411 in Monroe County in a car driven by a woman the TBI didn't identify when the two men began to argue. Strickland was riding in the back seat.

TBI officials said the woman told investigators she heard a popping sound and then saw Garrett slump over in the front passenger seat, so she sped toward the hospital but crashed into another car in the 3700 block of U.S. Highway 411 in Madisonville.

THP spokesman Lt. Don Boshears identified the driver as Katherine K. Suttles, 48, of Madisonville. The crash occurred at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Suttles was driving a 2012 Honda Civic southbound on Highway 411 when she "lost control and slid into the northbound lane, striking" a 2013 Kia Sorento driven by 34-year-old Englewood resident Amanda Cole. Cole's car was occupied by 32-year-old passenger Stephen Cole and three children, 3 years old, 5 years old and 9 months old, according to Boshears.

None of the occupants of Cole's car were seriously injured, Boshears said. All three children were properly restrained and the adults were wearing their seat belts. Suttles, who was also wearing a seat belt, was listed as injured, but there was no information about the severity of her injuries.

The TBI said Strickland fled the crash scene into a wooded area but was soon apprehended and taken to the Monroe County Jail to face charges in Garrett's death.

Monroe County Jail records show Strickland faces a General Sessions Court appearance on Nov. 6.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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