Family: Woman accused in deadly hit-and-run lied about truck’s damage

Photo: WKRN

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – The 25-year-old driver accused of hitting a woman riding a scooter and dragging her underneath the vehicle appeared in court in Smyrna Monday morning.

Cortney Barrett’s own grandmother, Marie Henson, testified that she lied about how the truck she was driving was damaged.

Moments before she was hit and killed, Elise Denton is seen in video from Gate 12 of the Nissan plant riding her scooter along South Lowery Street in Smyrna.

Elise Denton (Courtesy: Facebook)
Elise Denton (Courtesy: Facebook)

Shortly after, Barrett was also seen in the area, which is now a key piece of evidence for state prosecutors.

“The purpose of the video was to show the scooter and that also the vehicle that we believe was involved in the accident were on the same road at approximately the same time. It puts them together close together at the time of the accident,” Rutherford County assistant DA J. Paul Newman said.

Barrett appeared in court for the preliminary hearing.

Her grandmother took the stand, telling the court Barrett left home twice.

The first time returning around 11 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. that July night.

The truck Barrett was driving is sentimental to Henson. It belonged to her late husband who died from cancer.

“I was kind of hysterical, I was more upset – it was like losing a piece of my husband all over again,” Henson said. “I was upset; and so we didn’t really talk about anything about it other than she had tore it up.”

Henson said Barrett left home again in the truck and then lied about how it was damaged.

Courtesy: Murfreesboro Police Department
Courtesy: Murfreesboro Police Department

“She just said they hit her and kept going, I think that’s what she said,” Henson recalled.

She then saw on the news that police were looking for a truck involved in the fatal crash of Denton.

State prosecutors said she was hit by Barrett and dragged for about a half of mile.

Barrett is alleged to have stopped, removed the wreckage and drove away.

“I told her she had to go and turn it in,” Henson said.

Denton’s body was then run over by a second vehicle, according to police.

“Evidence of traumatic injuries throughout the body,” Smyrna police officer Rafael Gossett said. “Internal examination revealed blunt traumatic injuries to the head and torso.”

Prosecutors said Denton was a nurse who had planned to move to Seattle before she was killed.

Her vehicle was in the shop which is why she was riding the scooter.

“Ms. Denton and her family, there is no way you can replace that life,” Newman said. “They will be affected by that the rest of their lives. I think the defendant of course will be affected regardless of the outcome, I would assume.”

Newman told News 2 since this fatal crash Barrett has yet to show any remorse.

The judge found enough probable cause to send this case to a grand jury.

Barrett is charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

She is facing a Class C felony, which only carries a two year jail sentence, because as of now, they can’t prove recklessness.

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