By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Patrick Bradley Allison, 42, an EBCI tribal member and tribal employee, was killed as the result of a head-on collision that occurred on Birdtown Road (US-19) on the morning of April 14, 2015. Until now, not many official details of that crash have been released.
The official Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD) report on the incident has not been released until now. The Cherokee One Feather made an official public records request for the report in January, and the paper received the report, with parts redacted (blacked out) by the EBCI Attorney General’s Office, on Monday, April 4. In all, five full pages were redacted from the report.
The report includes a diagram, completed by the CIPD, which shows the driver of vehicle one which was traveling westward, driven by Michael Dean Tomes II, allegedly attempting to pass two vehicles on the left and striking vehicle two, driven by Allison, head-on. The report states that “vehicle one came to rest on the westbound shoulder of U.S. 19. Vehicle two traveled down an embankment and came to rest off the eastbound shoulder.”
Tomes has since been indicted on a federal Involuntary Manslaughter charge, a misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both according to Department of Justice officials. The indictment alleges that Tomes was “driving a vehicle upon a highway or public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful and wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others…”
In the report, CIPD Lt. Lester R. Swayney reported on a conversation he had at the scene with Josh Ammons, passenger in the vehicle with Allison. “Mr. Ammons stated that they were heading to work when Brad said ‘hold on’. Mr. Ammons stated that he looked up and saw the other vehicle in their lane then Brad swerved to the right but they had no place to go.”
Also in the report, CIPD Patrol Officer Bryan S. Chekelelee gives a narrative in which he interviewed Tomes. “Officer B. Chekelelee asked the driver which lane he was traveling in and the driver stated he was not sure for sure, he didn’t recall. Officer B. Chekelelee asked the driver what exactly had happened to cause the wreck and the driver stated that he was trying to swerve to avoid hitting a white car and next thing he knew, he heard a loud bang, the loudest bang he had ever heard and then next thing he knew he was in pain and standing outside of his vehicle.”
“Officer B. Chekelelee then asked the driver where the white car was located at that time he was trying to miss and the driver closed his eyes (which looked as if he was in a lot of pain) and said he didn’t remember. The driver stated he didn’t even remember where he was at.”
The report goes on to state that Officer Chekelelee asked Tomes for his name and alleges that he gave Michael Dean. After the accident, Officer Chekelelee met with a witness (name redacted in report) at the police department who informed that he had found evidence at the scene including a “wadded up” piece of paper and the photo of a little girl.
“(Name redacted) stated that after all the emergency services units left the area he then walked around the yard to look at the aftermath of the accident and that’s when he noticed the paper wadded up. He picked up the paper and unwadded it to find a copy of a identification card and a picture of a little girl. But (name) stated that the picture of the little girl had the face picked out. (Name) met Officer B. Chekelelee at the police department with these items and turned them over to law enforcement.”
Upon examining the identification card, Officer Chekelelee stated in the report that he realized that only partial information had been given of the man’s name.
The report states that Tomes underwent a “test for other drugs” and the results are pending.