Lipscomb student charged in fatal 2009 crash

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 2:38am
Staff reports

A Lipscomb University student was arrested earlier this week on vehicular homicide charges stemming from an April 2009 crash in which a fellow student died.

Police say Rebecca Garthwaite, of Cantonment, Fla., the driver in the fatal crash, allegedly admitted drinking beer prior to the single-vehicle crash that claimed the life of Randall Hardison, 20, of Shelbyville.

Garthwaite was driving a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am near the intersection of Brownlee and Currywood drives when her vehicle went out of control at 4: 20 a.m. on April 27, 2009, police said. Her car slid into a ditch, struck a utility pole and flipped onto its top.

In addition to her passenger who was killed, two other 19-year-old passengers, Adam Curtis of Mt. Juliet, and Stewart Nash of Nashville, were hospitalized. A fourth passenger, Ryan Wilson, 19, of Franklin was treated and released from the hospital.

Garthwaite faces a total of five charges including vehicular homicide by reckless conduct, vehicular homicide by intoxication, aggravated assault and two counts of vehicular assault.

She was released Jan. 25 on $100,000 bond.

12 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 1/27/10 at 6:08

This story is missing a lot of info. Why such a delay in these
charges? A $100,000 bond is higher than some 1st or 2nd
degree murder charge some defendants have to post!

By: fishfry on 1/27/10 at 7:35

Were they all drinking? govskeptic is right - too much info missing in this story. But even so, drinking and driving is a NO and young people have been hearing this all of their short lives. Top that with the death of a friend - as his mother, I would be un-consoleable. Somewhere we have to begin to deal harshly with this kind of activity. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for other 'partying - driving' college kids.

By: richgoose on 1/27/10 at 9:11

Wow! I find cause with how we seek justice in this country. Yesterday the state of Tennessee and it's cities and counties released from jail and prisons probably 25 criminals that have already and will do more harm than this girl will do in the rest of her life.

By: boyscout on 1/27/10 at 11:22

I agree, I wonder why the delay. How much pressure was put on the police by the families of the other students injured and killed in the accident. How much beer did she consume and how much did the other student consume? Was any one wearing seat belts and what were the road conditions, are but some of the question all that I hope will be answered in a trial. Also 100,000 bail?????

By: oatbran on 1/27/10 at 1:02

I find it absolutely appaling that richgoose thinks that this girl doesn't deserve what she is being faced with. She KILLED someone. And the injuries that the other passengers received were quite serious as well which included extended hospital stays and emotional trauma. The reason the bail is set so high is because she was driving recklessly and eventually caused the death of a good friend and respected student on the Lipscomb campus. I know the people involved in this wreck, very closely (I am a student at Lipscomb), and she was driving 85 miles per hour just for the hell of it. She wasn't "drunk". In my opinion, that makes it worse. It seems that she is even more accountable for her actions without the influence of alcohol. Chances are she won't even get a long sentence because this is her first offense, and although she might not be a potential threat in the future, she still has to pay for her mistakes just like everyone else does.

By: sidneyames on 1/27/10 at 1:34

She killed someone. A car, when driven recklessly, is a lethal weapon. She might as well have shot them with a gun. It's the same. Drunk, reckless! What's the difference? She doesn't deserve a "break". It was not a true accident. Accidents are unavoidable occurrences. If she was doing 85 mph as oatbran said, then it was no accident. It was a careless act of inappropriate behavior behind the wheel of a lethal weapon.

By: wataboutbob on 1/28/10 at 6:47

sidneyames - the definition of an accident is 'unintentional' and 'unplanned' and has nothing to do with being avoidable or not; nothing like shooting someone with a gun.

By: Ladylips on 1/28/10 at 8:36

Oatbran, how do you know she was driving 85 mph; I didn't see mention of the speed in the article. How do you know it's her first offense? Just curious

By: bubblytoes on 1/28/10 at 10:48

Excuse me "oatbran" but you obviously don't know the students involved as well as your claiming because your version of the story is highly inaccurate. Don't be so quick to point the finger and place any kind of "punishment" on someone until you can admit that you've never made a mistake, or done anything intentionally wrong. Correct me if I'm wrong, you go to Lipscomb so you should know this, but God doesn't rank sins and its not your job to try and do it for him.

By: oatbran on 1/29/10 at 3:40

I'm not saying that she deserves the harshest punishment, but I do believe some form of punishment is required. Also, I will admit I posted my first comment while highly emotional and upset. If you know these kids, which you probably do, you know that emotions can get the best of you and come off more harsh than you really feel. However, I will say that that is the side of the story that I heard from a person in the crash. I do feel sorry for Becky, I think she is suffering terribly, however...all actions have consequences. The other people in the car had also been drinking and they suffered punishment from the school as well as emotional damage.

By: sportsgal88 on 2/12/10 at 2:34

"Oatbran", if you knew these students you would know that some of the punishment is necessary, but would never wish punishment on someone you are apparently "friends" with. I am also a Lipscomb student and I really do know these people. They are a few of my close friends and I would never wish anything like that on anyone. Did you ever think that the driver may also have some emotional trauma? I mean, put yourself in her shoes and think about what you are saying.

_I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me_

By: private on 2/13/10 at 8:30

Do you all not realise that our ENTIRE family has read this article? and we read your comments? In order to keep myself private I will not reveal my relation other than family member of Bryants.

Becky was his friend. He would never want this for her. Neither does his family.

I do believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that in situations such as this, its in the best interest of the family members and his closest of friends to keep your opinions to yourself.