JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State Police say a man involved in a head-on collision last month that claimed the life of a Greene County minister was huffing air duster at the time of the crash.
Craighead County District Judge Tommy Fowler found probable cause Wednesday to charge Joe Lee Brinkley, 52, of Monette with negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated-drugs, and second-degree battery.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on Aug. 22, Brinkley was southbound on Highway 49, just south of the Craighead County line, when his tow truck crossed the center line and collided head-on with a northbound Hyundai Elantra, driven by Thomas Hood.
Brinkley's truck then traveled across the ditch and slammed into the Homeplace Furniture building.
Hood, who was a pastor at Clark's Chapel Baptist Church, died in the crash. His wife, Linda, was seriously injured.
Neither Brinkley nor his passenger was hurt, ASP said.
Investigators collected a sample of Brinkley's blood and sent it to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for analysis.
Court documents stated Brinkley's blood indicated the presence of difluoroethane, a common ingredient found in air duster.
"The presence of difluoroethane corroborated witness statements that Joe Brinkley was huffing air duster while operating the vehicle and passed out as a result of huffing merely seconds before crossing the center line," the affidavit stated.
Despite the state's request that Brinkley be held on a $50,000 bond, Fowler set it at $15,000 cash/surety and ordered the man to appear in circuit court on Oct. 31.
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