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A pregnant Tennessee mother and her 2-year-old son are dead after a man plowed his car into them on Monday, later telling authorities that he intentionally struck them at the suggestion of a voice in his head.
William David Phillips, a 33-year-old Jefferson City resident, is facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder, after allegedly driving his car into multiple pedestrians and a store-front on Monday, in a random act of violence that left 30-year-old Sierra Wilson Cahoon, her 2-year-old son Nolan Cahoon, and Cahoon’s unborn child dead, Jefferson City Police said.
Phillips, who was driving a Chevy Impala in downtown Jefferson City that afternoon, allegedly drove the car onto the sidewalk of East Main Street and struck the first pedestrian, 61-year-old Tillman Gunter, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. After, he allegedly continued driving and encountered Cahoon and her child less than a mile away from where he struck Gunter, the outlet reports.
Phillips said that at that point, “the voice told him that the baby stroller had meth in it so he intentionally drove into (the mother and child) ... killing them both,” authorities wrote in an arrest warrant obtained by the outlet.
Phillips drove on and next crashed his car into a nearby fish hatchery, leaving an employee inside with minor injuries and thousands of fish dead after their tanks were destroyed, according to another report from the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Phillips was taken into custody immediately after the incident, and police have since concluded that he had no prior relationship to anyone that he struck.
“The preliminary investigation has revealed that this was an intentional act of violence toward randomly chosen pedestrians. Investigators have determined that Phillips did not know the victims,” police said in a release issued Tuesday.
Phillips claimed that he began his spree because “a voice told him that he needed to go kill meth addicts so he began driving very fast,” authorities said in an arrest warrant obtained by the Sentinel.
Gunter, the first pedestrian to fall victim to Phillip’s rampage, was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries, while the mother and son were declared deceased at the scene, police said.
Phillips has been charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder and, while he was initially facing only two counts of first-degree murder, police said Wednesday that he has been charged with an additional count for the death of Cahoon’s unborn child.
Sierra and Nolan Cahoon are survived by husband and father Matt Cahoon, an assistant athletic trainer at Carson-Newman, a Christian school located near the scene of the crash, according to the Sentinel.
The school’s athletics department shared its condolences in a Facebook post Tuesday announcing that a fund had been set up in the family’s honor.
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