Driver pleads guilty to reckless homicide

Author: Michael Thomason
Source: The Monroe County Advocate

A Lenoir City man whose car wreck killed a man in 2001, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in Monroe County Criminal Court this week.

Court records show Jose G. Gonzales Martinez, 27, Martel Road, Lenoir City, had not been seen in years until he turned up last November.

Martinez was originally charged with vehicular homicide after an April 21, 2001, wreck killed 29-year-old Jaun R. Tinoco, also of Lenoir City. Tinoco was a passenger in Martinez’s car.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Martinez was driving on County Road 239, east of Sweetwater, when he lost control of his Chevrolet Cavalier and flipped the vehicle several times, ejecting Tinoco  and another passenger, Vincente Tinoco, 18 at the time of the wreck.

The district attorney’s office kept the case open for three years before “retiring” it in 2004 when Martinez appeared to have left the area. Retiring the case meant it was kept off court dockets until Martinez turned up.

When Martinez came back into the picture, prosecutors began to prepare a case, but the only witness, Vincente Tinoco, couldn’t be found, and while criminal court was in session this week, both sides agreed to a plea bargain.

Martinez pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless homicide for which he received two years probation and no fine.