Update: Man sentenced to 15 years in prison after fatal crash in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A roadway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. NPS photo by J Bennett.
A roadway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

NPS photo by J Bennett.

News Release Date: May 6, 2016

Contact: NPS Investigative Services Branch, (202) 379-4761

Contact: Tip Line, 888-653-0009

Update: Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder

A federal judge handed down a 15 year prison term today to Corey Bruce Patrick, age 35, of Camden, TN. Patrick pleaded guilty last year to second degree murder after a fatal car crash in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2014. The judge also ordered Patrick to pay restitution to the victim's family in the amount of $15,990 for funeral and burial related expenses and the value of the car.

An ISB Special Agent led the investigation, which was prosecuted by an Assistant US Attorney with the Eastern District of Tennessee. According to court documents, Patrick's blood alcohol level was .193, more than twice the legal limit in Tennessee. 

The only passenger in the car with Patrick, Heather Nicole Hendrix, succumbed to extensive traumatic injuries. She was 37 years old when she was killed. Hendrix is survived by her mother, three children, and a grandson born two weeks after her death.

 

Related News Release Date: April 21, 2015

Driver pleads guilty to murder after a car crash in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Special Agents with the Investigative Services Branch helped bring about the conviction of a man charged with second-degree murder in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Corey Bruce Patrick pleaded guilty in April to the charges stemming from a car crash in October of 2014. Sentencing is expected to take place in late August.

Responders found that Patrick had driven the car head-on into a tree. The passenger was the car's owner, and she had sent a text message a minute before the crash saying "he's driving fast and crazy." The passenger suffered multiple blunt-force trauma injuries and died on scene. Patrick told rescuers that he'd been drinking alcohol before the high-speed crash.

The ISB Special Agents gathered evidence and presented a strong case to the US Attorney, resulting in a murder charge rather than the initial charge of driving under the influence. During sentencing, the federal judge will rule on prison time and possible fines and restitution.

 

 

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Last updated: May 6, 2016