A Knoxville police officer resigned Tuesday when faced with termination after he allegedly smashed into the rear of a car while drunk on Cumberland Avenue, records show. James Aman, a 10-year veteran of the Knoxville Police Department, was told that the department was already planning to fire him after Internal Affairs found he had violated department policy.
Aman was allowed to use sick days and vacation time to extend his employment until Dec. 30 so he could take advantage of the city’s employee assistance program. He will have no police powers during that time. Mr. Aman blamed his drinking on stress. According to the reports, Aman got off work at 7 a.m. Oct. 31 and went home. Aman spent time with his 15-year-old son during Halloween and dressed up as a soldier in camouflage and face paint. He said he took some Tylenol cold pills and drank some cough syrup while at home. Aman said he had a few mixed drinks at home and went about 10:30 p.m. to a bar called Banana Joe’s. He said he only stayed a few minutes before leaving for Moose’s Music Hall on Cumberland Avenue, and stated he only drank two beers. Police records show that at 1:42 a.m., Aman drove his 1994 Toyota 4×4 pickup truck into the rear of a compact car stopped for a traffic light on Cumberland Avenue at Volunteer Boulevard. The impact smashed the trunk of the 2000 Kia Sephia into the back seat and propelled the car at least 100 feet, records show. As the driver of the Sephia, Lawrence Brady, 29, and his passenger, 22-year-old Tiffany Turpin, both of Shaler Lane got out of the car, they saw the driver of the truck running away. They said the driver never checked on their welfare and didn’t say a word before fleeing on foot, according to the Internal Affairs file. Brady, who had just bought the Sephia the week before, was treated at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for injuries to his head and ankle. Turpin did not require medical treatment. A University of Tennessee police officer rushed to the crash and radioed another UT officer of the fleeing driver. University of Tennessee Officer Melissa Dilbeck said she encountered Aman a block from the crash but when she ordered him to stop, he just shook his head and ran away, records show.
Four blocks from the crash, Knoxville officer Larry Presnell drove up behind Aman on Highland Avenue. Presnell said before he could say anything, Aman placed his hands in the air and surrendered. Aman’s face and clothing were bloody because his nose had been broken in the crash, so Presnell said he didn’t at first recognize Aman as a fellow officer. Aman told Internal Affairs investigators he doesn’t recall anything about the crash. Asked why he ran, he said, “I guess I was scared. I don’t know.” Presnell cited Aman with drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He refused to submit to an alcohol test. He is scheduled to be photographed and fingerprinted Nov. 16 at the Knox County Jail and has not appeared in court on the charges