Man gets 1 year in prison for car crash that killed young doctor
After he pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide in a car crash that killed a young doctor, Brent Douglas Davis of Smyrna will only spend one year behind bars.
According to his plea deal, Davis, 52, was sentenced to a single year of jail time, followed by 14 years probation, for his involvement in a January 2020 car wreck that killed 26-year-old Dr. Tyler Wallace.
According to Wallace’s family, he was leaving his continued medical education courses on Jan. 18, 2020, when Davis’ vehicle struck his car. The arrest warrant says that Davis crashed his Toyota Tundra into the driver’s side door of Wallace’s Chrysler 200 as Davis turned into the driveway of the Highlands Grove Business Park.
Wallace was exiting the driveway and turning onto Highlands Parkway. The warrant says an investigation found Davis was driving 54 mph in a 45 mph zone.
“Further evidence shows the driver of the Toyota Tundra did not let off the accelerator and apply the brakes until approximately one second before impact, and the driver of the Toyota Tundra turned into the Chrysler when there was enough room to the left lane to avoid the vehicle.”
The warrant said to extract Wallace from the wreckage, Smyrna fire and rescue personnel cut the hinges off of the driver’s side front door of the Chrysler. The physical therapist and recent medical school graduate died from his injuries two days later.
After being charged with vehicular homicide and DUI, Davis was released in February 2020 on a $60,000 bond, court records show.
In describing Davis, the responding Smyrna police officer said Davis was “unsteady on his feet and staggering,” had slurred speech, stuttered heavily, and had breath that smelled of both an Arby’s sandwich and mouthwash or a mint.
According to the warrant, the officer asked Davis if he had been drinking to which he responded he had not. The officer continued to ask Davis if he had been drinking earlier that day, to which Davis responded he had not each time while failing to make eye contact. After the officer asked him if he would submit to sobriety tests, Davis called someone on his cell phone and asked if he should do the tests.
After hanging up, Davis told the officer he would not submit to the tests, according to the warrant. The officer arrested Davis on suspicion of driving under the influence. Police obtained a search warrant later for Davis’ vehicle.
They found an empty small bottle of mouthwash atop the center console, breath mints inside the console, an Arby’s bag in the front passenger seat, a Yeti cooler on the floor behind the passenger seat with ice, and an unopened can of Coors Light, and a black gym bag that contained two unopened Coors Light cans, the warrant states.
After being charged with vehicular homicide and DUI, Davis was released in February 2020 on a $60,000 bond, court records show. In March 2021, he was indicted on two counts of vehicular homicide and not for DUI.
Davis’ plea deal includes being evaluated for substance abuse upon his release date, and treatment for substance abuse would follow 30 days after the evaluation. He will also be required to enroll in and complete the DUI Risk Reduction School, complete a Mothers Against Drunk Driving Impact Panel, and pay restitution to Wallace’s family, per the plea deal. Davis will be incarcerated at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center to serve out his sentence.
About the victim
Wallace graduated from the University of Georgia in 2016 and then from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in May 2019. His family said that Wallace began practicing physical therapy one month later.
Wallace’s family held his white doctor’s coat and displayed a large picture of him while his sister, Charisse Gilbert, spoke outside the Cobb courtroom saying, “This is Dr. Tyler Wallace, our brother’s white coat. He earned this his first year in medical school in Augusta. We’ll never have an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor, the fruits of his sacrifice, the fruits of his discipline, and neither will he.”
Following the trial, David Holmes, an Assistant Cobb County District Attorney justified the sentence by pointing to the dangerous intersection and suggested that it likely played a role in the crash. “This is an issue that Smyrna needs to address,” Holmes said. “This is a very dangerous intersection. We believe this is the best potential resolution to this case given the potential pitfalls at trial.”