Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 6, 2016

Driver Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Second Degree Murder Of Passenger In Great Smoky Mountains National Park Car Crash

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On May 6, 2016, Corey Bruce Patrick, 35, of Camden, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 15 years in federal prison for second degree murder for a car wreck that resulted in the death of Heather Nicole Hendrix. 

Upon his release from prison, Patrick will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for five years.  He was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim’s family in the amount of $15,989.77 for funeral and burial related expenses and the value of Hendrix’s car.

In April 2015, Patrick pleaded guilty to the offense described above.  According to documents on file with U.S. District Court, in October 2014, after drinking alcohol and using drugs, Patrick crashed the victim’s car while driving at a high rate of speed within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  One minute before the crash, Hendrix sent a text message that Patrick was “driving fast and crazy.”  Patrick’s blood alcohol level was .193, more than twice the legal limit in Tennessee. At the time of the crash, Hendrix, the only passenger, suffered multiple blunt force injuries causing her to die at age 37.  Hendrix was survived in death by her mother, three children, and a grandson, who was born two weeks after her death.

The case was investigated by the National Park Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooklyn Sawyers represented the United States. 

###

Updated May 6, 2016