Domestic Violence Is Man's Motive in Storefront Crash - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Domestic Violence Is Man's Motive in Storefront Crash

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by Brent Frazier

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Police this weekend said the driver behind the wheel of that runaway pickup truck was Eric Whitaker, 40; they said the motive behind his off-road rant was to regain control over his 37-year-old girlfriend.

After crashing two times Friday morning, including right through the all-glass storefront of a busy service station, Eric Whitaker was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Vanderbilt in Nashville, where he was in critical condition Friday night. A Whitaker family member told NewsChannel 5 Saturday afternoon that the man's health is improving.

Columbia Police are branding this explosive incident a case of domestic violence, pure and simple.

And Whitaker's refusal to allow anything to come between him and his girlfriend, who'd dashed inside the mini-mart for help, is indicative of a classic domestic abuser, according to staff members at the YWCA of Nashville and middle Tennessee.

"They will do that anywhere, at any time," said Pamela Sessions, vice president of programs at the YW. "And nothing is going to stop them from doing that."

Sessions said while Whitaker's service station drive-through is an extreme case of violence, it is not surprising. Nor is it a shock at all that Whitaker had zero regard for the innocent civilians who, in his eyes, threatened to come between his lover and him.

"So, for people who are in the presence when this act occurs, they are at risk for being harmed as well," Sessions explained. "So, whether it's in the workplace, it's in a public parking lot, in the neighborhood, whoever is around that person is potentially at risk."

Sessions urged women all over Tennessee, who might be involved in a violent, intimate relationship, to consider calling for help. The YWCA's 24-hour Crisis and Information Line is:  (615) 242-1199; or, toll-free, (800) 334-4628.








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