Suspected DUI driver accused of breaking historic tombstones - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Suspected DUI driver accused of breaking historic tombstones

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GREENBRIER, TN (WSMV) -

It's bad enough an accused drunken driver struck an historic tombstone with his truck, but police say what he did next was no accident.

The sudden appearance of broken white stone in a Greenbriar cemetery helped police piece the timeline together.

Investigators say 34-year-old Christopher Gay was drunk behind the wheel when he lost control and swerved into a headstone hundreds of years old.

"I hate the whole situation. I hate that the wreck happened, and I hate that the tombstones were messed up," said the Rev. Jack Evans, with Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Gay wasn't finished, police said. His car was stuck in the cemetery, so police say he managed to break another stone off its base with his bare hands and placed the stone under his tire as a sort of makeshift ramp, hoping the headstone would help him make his getaway.

"They're old and they've aged a lot. so they can be broken pretty easily," Evans said.

When police showed up, Gay, they say, was still spinning his wheels, trying to leave. They ended up charging him with driving under the influence - his third DUI offense.

"I'm really concerned about the young man and his family," Evans said.

The pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church isn't worried about the historic headstones.

"These things can be replaced, but you can't replace a life, and we would like to fix his life and change his life," Evans said. "He's dealing with some powerful influences, and we would just like for him to know about God and realize that God can change his life and put it back together."

Gay's family called and offered to pay for all of the damage, but the pastor declined. He asked the family to focus on getting him well and said the church will now handle all of the repairs.

The church plans to use a concrete adhesive to re-erect the stones. They also plan to build frames around the bottom to give them a more solid base.

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