An Anderson County jury deliberated for about four hours Wednesday before convicting 68-year-old Oak Ridge resident Lee Cromwell on one count of vehicular homicide and eight counts of aggravated assault in connection to the deadly parking lot crash after the Oak Ridge 4th of July fireworks display in 2015.
The jury got the case at around 11 am Wednesday and returned their verdict shortly before 3 pm. A sentencing date of April 11th was set for Cromwell, whose bond was immediately revoked following the rendering of the verdict. He was taken to the Anderson County jail to await that April sentencing hearing.
Cromwell was convicted of killing 37-year-old James Robinson of Knoxville and assaulting eight other people with his Dodge Ram pickup as he backed up at what witnesses described as a “high rate of speed,” striking several other vehicles in the parking lot of the Midtown Community Center, which was crowded with people who had just left the city’s Independence Day fireworks show at Bissell Park. Robinson died from injuries sustained when he pushed his two young daughters out of the way of Cromwell’s truck.
15 witnesses took the stand during the three-day trial, several of whom said that they had seen Cromwell hit one or two vehicles, stop each time for a few seconds after the crash, and then eventually “floor” the accelerator and back quickly through the crowded parking lot.
The jury rejected Cromwell’s claim that defect on the truck caused the crash.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing, Cromwell was served with sealed indictments out of Davidson County, charging him with Class A and Class E felonies. Since those indictments are sealed, it is unclear what the charges may be but it is very likely connected to $137 million in liens taken out by Cromwell against not only local law enforcement officials and agencies as well as against the IRS and other federal entities. One lien filed against Criminal Court Judge Don Elledge to recuse himself from the case and Senior Judge Paul Summers was appointed to preside over the trial. The lien against Judge Elledge has since been terminated. For much more on the liens filed by Cromwell, visit our partners at Oak Ridge Today.