High speed chase led to jail

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

A man who led police on a high-speed chase through Lewisburg last fall pled guilty in Circuit Court on May 9 when he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Rodney S. Crosslin, 32, of Franklin Avenue, was charged with aggravated assault and evading arrest. According to documents in the case file, the assault occurred on Oct. 15, 2011, when Crosslin stabbed a man in the stomach. Then, about 9 p.m. Oct. 29, Lewisburg Police Officer Clint Newbill was patrolling on Nashville Highway when he was forced onto the shoulder by a car coming toward him in the center of the road. Newbill turned around and activated his blue lights, and, later, his siren, trying to stop the car.

Meanwhile, Newbill learned from dispatch that the car matched the description of one that had been stolen in Shelbyville earlier in the day, which was valued at $11,000. Newbill and Officer Steve Sanders were finally able to approach the car on foot when it stopped in the center of the intersection of Nashville Highway and North Ellington Parkway. The driver refused to get out of the silver Nissan Sentra, and sped off towards the square. At this point, Sgt. Danny Burk advised the officers to "back off," so they were a long way behind when Sheriff's Capt. Bart Fagan saw the car travel south across the square at a high rate of speed. The car turned right from Cornersville Road onto Spring Street and crashed at the corner of Spring Street and 6th Avenue. The homes at 548 and 540 Spring Street were extensively damaged, as was the car. Crosslin was hospitalized for his injuries, then arrested and transferred to Marshall County Jail when he was released from Vanderbilt.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler sentenced Crosslin to four years on the aggravated assault charge and three years on the evading arrest charge, with the sentences to be served consecutively. Crosslin will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence. He has 156 days of jail credit.

Crigler also accepted guilty pleas from the following defendants:

* Ignacio Cerpa Guzman, 29, of Woodlawn Avenue, pled guilty to possession with intent to sell a B-Felony amount of crack cocaine, and also to a failure to appear charge. When a guilty plea is made, an Assistant District Attorney must state a factual basis for the charge. According to ADA Mike Randles, on July 6, 2011, a confidential informant working for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force telephoned Guzman and requested a delivery of crack. Guzman left his home and a few minutes later was pulled over by 17th JDDTF agents because he was speeding. Guzman had 12.95 grams of crack with him in the car. Later, when agents searched his house, they found an additional 46.25 grams of the drug, plus scales, packaging materials, and $4,280 cash. Guzman admitted to the agents he had been distributing crack for about seven months and the cash was proceeds from drug sales. According to documents in his case file, Guzman has a wife and two children, and was employed as a laborer at a local stable. Agents also found two permanent residence card and two Social Security cards at the home. "Defendant stated all four cards were false documents purchased from 'Chiva' for $60 each," wrote ADA Eddie Barnard in his response to a request for discovery.

Crigler sentenced Guzman to 10 years in prison, to be followed by another 18 months on the failure to appear charge. He must pay a $2,000 fine and will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence. Guzman has 242 days of jail credit.

* Joshua Haskins, 24, of Ashwood Avenue, pled guilty to driving after having been declared a Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender and to his fourth offense of driving under the influence. Haskins was sentenced to 18 months on each charge, to be served one after the other for a total of at least 180 days. He must pay a $3,000 fine and court costs. In addition, Haskins' license will be revoked for eight years. Crigler ordered him to attend DUI school and to submit to a drug and alcohol assessment and abide by its recommendations.

* Paul F. Cherry, 64, of New Columbia Highway, pled guilty to vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, and his fifth DUI. About 7:45 p.m. June 11, 2011, Cherry was in a head-on collision at the intersection of Cornersville Highway and Yell Road, according to the report by Lewisburg Police Officer Clint Newbill. "Oh, I've done it now," Cherry said, according to Newbill, when he heard that people in the other vehicle had been injured. Officer Terry Ebenstein witnessed the crash and stated, "The force of the head-on collision was so great that the rear ends of both vehicles lifted off the ground and almost formed a V-shape."

Cherry told Newbill he had drunk seven to 10 beers and said he "believed he passed out while driving."

Crigler sentenced Cherry to four years and six months in prison, of which he must serve at least 30 percent before being eligible for parole. Cherry's fines total $8,000, and he must pay court costs as well. He has 107 days of jail credit.