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Knoxville woman charged with DUI, texting while driving

Photo by Knox County Sheriff’s Office

Jessica Lauren Burke

A 27-year-old Knoxville woman was charged with texting while driving and DUI after crashing her SUV into a house in West Knoxville early Thursday.

Jessica Lauren Burke of Sandpiper Lane in West Knoxville told officers she was driving home from work and lost control of her 1998 Jeep Cherokee while texting, according to Knoxville Police Department Lt. Robert Hembree.

The Jeep crashed into a house at 7017 S. Northshore Drive about 3:11 a.m.

Neither the driver nor the home’s resident was injured.

Officers believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the wreck, according to Hembree.

The driver also was charged with violation of the implied consent law.

KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said officers rarely use the texting while driving law passed after the proliferation of texting on cell phones.

“This would be either the first time we’ve brought that charge, or it’s one of just a few times we’ve used that law,” he said.

“We usually go with the distracted driving charge, which encompasses more than just texting. It covers putting on makeup, eating, fiddling with the radio and things like that.

“But if someone admits to texting, we’ll charge them with that.”

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