Tennessee man pleads guilty in death of Bagdad man

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Howard ‘Red’ White was killed in auto accident in 2012

By Lisa King

Austin T. Meredith, 26, of Sevierville, Tenn., pleaded guilty in January in the death of Howard “Red” White of Bagdad.

Meredith was charged with vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from an accident in July 2012 in Corbin.

Meredith pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, first-degree wanton endangerment, DUI, no insurance and violation of federal safety regulations for commercial drivers.

He will be sentenced on March 24 in Laurel County Circuit Court.

Meredith was arrested July 7, 2012,  and charged with murder, DUI, first-degree wanton endangerment, no insurance and various safety regulations concerning commercial truck vehicles following an accident in which White was killed.

White, 49, owner of Round the Clock Towing, was called “Red” by those who knew him in Bagdad, where he had owned and operated his towing service for about 20 years.

White had been to Tennessee to pick up a vehicle and was on his way home when he stopped to check to see if the vehicle he was towing was secure, police said.

He had pulled onto the shoulder of Interstate 75, just north of Exit 29 in Corbin, at about 4 a.m., turned on his flashers and climbed out of the truck, leaving his sons, Austin, 18, and Timothy, 2, in the cab.

A report by Kentucky State Police said that Meredith was traveling north when a 2008 white Ford box truck he was driving struck White, the tow truck and the car being towed.

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Steve Walker wrote in his report that Meredith had crossed the fog line, striking White and causing fatal injuries. The fog line is the solid white line on the outside right edge of a highway.

White’s sons were not injured, Walker said.

“Alcohol is a direct factor in the collision,” Walker wrote.

Meredith was taken to the Laurel County Detention Center, where he has remained under a $110,000 cash bond.

Second-degree manslaughter is a Class C felony first-degree wanton endangerment is a Class D felony, punishable by 5 to 10 years and 1 to 5 years in prison, respectively.

Laurel County Commonwealth Attorney Jack Steele has not returned phone calls from The Sentinel-News inquiring about the recommended sentence from his office.