'It’s destroyed their family' Driver involved in deadly DUI crash won't get license reinstated

Carl Dollarhide Jr.
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 19:26:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A DUI driver involved in a deadly crash from 2015 won't get his license reinstated while on probation.

Carl Dollarhide Jr., who was 20 at the time of the crash, crashed into an oncoming car on Clarksville Pike six years ago, killing 29-year-old Stacy Thornton and paralyzing her 10-month old daughter Maddie Mae Belt. He later pleaded guilty to charges in the case and has since been released on probation.

Maddie Mae Belt
Maddie Mae Belt is now paralyzed after a drunk driver crashed into her family's vehicle in 2015.

"Maddie is thankfully doing well. I understand she got her ventilator removed, she is in a power chair. It is very very difficult to do anything, not even every car fits her chair," said Assistant District Attorney Laney Heard.

Dollarhide's uncle and attorney Bryan Lewis asked Judge Cheryl Blackburn to reinstate his license so that he could drive to work.

“His probation officer notes he’s been a model on probation," Lewis said.

Heard read a letter from the victim's family in court. "Her life is totally different than it would have been," Heard said.

Letter to Judge Cheryl Blackburn
Becky Thornton wrote a letter to be read in a motions hearing in Nashville, Tennessee.

Judge Blackburn denied the motion, so Dollarhide won't be able to drive while on his 8-year probation. "So if this were a gun that was being used, he would never get the privilege of using a gun again," Blackburn said.

Maddie's family was so upset ahead of the hearing that they started a petition to stop Dollarhide from getting his license back. This case has been controversial from the beginning. Dollarhide's family has ties to prominent politicians.

After his case, the law changed which requires stricter penalties. Now, no one convicted of vehicular homicide by intoxication can get probation.

"It’s destroyed their family, you know, her mom is gone. There’s a hole in their family that will never be replaced. Maddie will never walk down the aisle. She will never walk at graduation; she will never play sports," Heard said.

According to Heard, last year Davidson County broke records for vehicular homicides and fatal crashes. This year Nashville is on track to break those records again.