Man involved in fiery crash has multiple wrecks on record

Man involved in fiery crash has multiple wrecks on record (Image 1)

A Clarksville man charged with crashing into a home and who is under investigation for crashing into a gas pump earlier this summer has had five other wrecks in the past year.

Driving records obtained by Nashville's News 2 show John Ward, 57, has a string of car wrecks he attributes to blacking out.

Ward's driving record shows nine wrecks total that include personal injuries and property damage since June 2007.

The most recent accident happened Monday in Clarksville.

Ward said he blacked out while driving on Twelve Oaks Boulevard.  Ward's rental car left the road, traveled through a house's front yard and crashed into the side of another house.

No one was injured but the home sustained more than $10,000 in damages and required emergency supports to keep the home structurally sound.

Ward was arrested for the most recent incident and charged Tuesday afternoon with reckless driving.

He has been released on a $5,000 bond.

The wreck on Twelve Oaks Boulevard is Ward's second since July 4, when he crashed into a gas pump at the Exxon located at 715 Riverside Drive, causing a huge explosion.

Victim Chris Porter suffered burns to 40% of his body.

Porter has since been released from the hospital and is recovering at an in-patient rehabilitation facility, according to his family.

Charges have not been filed in the July crash.

Prior to that incident, reports show Ward was involved in two other wrecks in 2013.

On April 7, officers responded to a single-vehicle crash on Warfield Boulevard.

Officers reported that Ward said he blacked out for a brief moment, and when he came to, the 2000 Saturn L200 he was driving was on the right side of the road in a ditch.

Ward was transported to Gateway Medical Center.  The car he was driving was towed away from the scene. The report notes it was not drivable.

Less than a month later, on May 3, Ward crashed his rented 2013 Dodge Avenger into a home on Old Russellville Pike.

In the report, the officer said Ward told him that he had a panic attack over the recent stress of his pending divorce and blacked out while driving.

Ward told the officer that when he came to, he was off the roadway and about to crash into the house.

The wreck left the car disabled and damaged the foundation of the house.  No one was injured.

A witness told police that she saw the car leave the road and it appeared that Ward was passed out behind the wheel.

Two months later, Ward said he blacked out again before crashing into the Exxon station and injuring Porter.

Still, Ward was allowed to keep his driver license and continue to drive.

Nashville's News 2 obtained a copy of Ward's motor vehicle record through an open records request.

Ward has five accidents with property damage on his record in Montgomery, Dickson and Sumner counties.

The first one on his record is from June 2007.

He also has four wrecks with personal injury, which include the July 4 gas station crash.

Additionally, Ward's record shows a possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage charge, a completion of court mandated traffic school, an advisory letter from Montgomery County and a proposed suspension letter from the Clarksville Police Department. 

Clarksville police officials said they submitted the letter because the department does not have the power to take Ward's driver license.

Spokesman Sgt. Charles Gill said only a judge or the Department of Public Safety can suspend Ward's license.

Following the crash on Monday, Clarksville police made a request to the Department of Public Safety to revaluate Ward's driver license.

“We are reviewing that information along with Mr. Ward's driving history and will determine if any action should be taken,” DPS spokeswoman Dayla Qualls said in an email to Nashville's News 2.

She continued, “Typically, a person is proposed for suspension when the department receives written information of the driver's ability to operate a vehicle.  That person then has 30 days to either ask for a hearing or submit medical information from their physician.”

Qualls said in addition to the suspension, if Ward is found to have lost consciousness due to a medical condition, he would have to be laps-free for six months from the date of the last incident before he could be considered for reinstatement of his license.

She did not say when a decision would be made about Clarksville's request.

Clarksville police said they are awaiting the results of toxicology tests from the TBI to complete the accident report for the July 4 crash.

Toxicology results can take 35 weeks to complete, according to the TBI.

In the meantime, Ward's case has not been presented to a grand jury for possible criminal charges and he has been able to keep his driver license.

Calls to Ward were not returned Tuesday.

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