MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Blount County prosecutors dropped most criminal counts Friday against a Greenback woman accused of speeding through a vaccination tent last year, and her attorney indicated he's working on a plea agreement with the state.
Virginia Christine Brown was in Blount County General Sessions Court on seven counts of reckless endangerment. She was charged in May. The case has lingered in court since then.
On Friday morning, the prosecution dismissed five of the seven counts. Brown's attorney waived her right to a preliminary, or probable cause, hearing on the remaining counts.
Brown's attorney indicated she may plead guilty to a charge Jan. 4 through negotiations with the state without a grand jury review.
Reckless endangerment is the lowest level of felony in Tennessee.
Authorities said Brown sped through the tent to protest the COVID-19 vaccine.
The incident happened in the parking lot of Foothills Mall in Maryville. A Blount County deputy who was working the event and sitting in his cruiser nearby said he witnessed the entire incident.
According to his report, a blue Chrysler SUV caught his eye because of the driver's unusual behavior. Typically, vehicles stopped and signed in with National Guard personnel to get the vaccine, and then proceeded slowly through a course outlined with cones into a large tent to get the injection.
They then exited the tent and parked for about 15 minutes to be sure the driver didn't suffer any immediate side effects from the vaccine.
In May, Deputy Kevin Snider said he saw the SUV "traveling at a high rate of speed through the closed cone course and through an enclosed tent" then "exit the tent and continue to drive recklessly through the cone course."
There were more than a dozen people working inside that tent, and Deputy Snider said several of them ran up to his patrol car and told him that the SUV almost hit several people under the tent.
Snider followed the SUV and pulled it over on Morganton Road. The driver was Brown, who told him "she was driving through to protest the vaccine."