Tennessee parents Dustin and Brittany Dillard recently passed away on Christmas Day, December 25, after a drunk driver allegedly slammed into the family’s truck. The tragic incident orphaned the deceased couple’s three young boys, who were also present in the truck and reportedly sustained serious injuries.
Police authorities have identified the driver as Patricke Conley, who was subsequently arrested and is now facing charges of two counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault.
The accused is a 42-year-old man from Cleveland who allegedly lost control of his SUV before violently crashing into Brittany Dillard and Dustin’s truck. Patricke Conley has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Violent crash in Bradley County kills Tennessee couple Dustin and Brittany Dillard
The recent holidays got tragic and difficult for the three young Dillard boys who lost their parents in a violent car crash in Bradley County on December 25. The incident happened after Patricke Conley slammed his SUV into the Dillard family’s truck.
The accused first collided with a mailbox on I-64 in Bradley County before losing control of his vehicle. As a result, it deviated off the lane and went airborne, before violently crashing into the jeep that the Dillard family was traveling in. According to a Highway Patrol affidavit:
“Based on the roadway evidence, Conley went off the right side of the roadway, hitting a mailbox. He then crossed over both lanes of travel into the grassy median. Losing control of his vehicle… the Isuzu traveled up a steep embankment and went airborne.”
The crash resulted in the tragic deaths of Dustin and Brittany Dillard, both aged 33. Their sons reportedly sustained severe injuries. The same has been confirmed by the officers who have responded to the crime scene.
A witness stated that he along with his girlfriend’s father reached out to help the injured family and discovered that their car was flipped completely over. They could also reportedly hear the boys screaming. According to the man named Charles:
“I had my handgun in my pocket, so I took the butt of it, and I smashed the window.”
The witnesses could not get the children out of the car, and thus, had to wait for authorities to arrive for help. According to a report:
“Conley’s car had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage in the driver’s compartment and there were numerous Bud Light cans scattered throughout the crash scene.”
Dustin was driving a 2022 Jeep Wagoneer, while his wife Britanny Dillard was in the passenger seat. The three kids were in the back seat of the jeep. Conley also sustained injuries due to the crash and was seen coming to court in a wheelchair.
Officials have discovered that Patricke Conley was previously sentenced to 8 years on drug charges and was also charged with several traffic violations. He allegedly violated his probation as well.
Family members and people who knew the couple describe them as a “selfless family”
Britanny Dillard was a teacher at Walker Valley High School. According to Assistant Principal John Burroughs, to celebrate the couple’s lives, the students of the school will paint a huge rock that usually gets decorated for special events.
According to people who knew the couple, they lived “a life of service to others.” Family members and friends of Brittany Dillard and Dustin have not spoken to the media as of now but have taken to social media platforms to express their condolences.
Bradley County Schools released a statement requesting privacy for the families so that they can mourn their losses. The statement read:
“The family desires the focus to be on organizing community support for the benefit of the children and establishing privacy for grieving and healing.”
The release also mentioned that the families of Dustin and Brittany Dillard do not want anybody to launch a fundraiser online, and if anybody wants to donate, they can do so by mailing a check to the CrossNet Baptist Network. Assistant Principal Burroughs spoke highly of Brittany Dillard and stated:
“Just before her passing, she sent me a very encouraging text message. It was so kind. I’ll remember that she did not leave anything unsaid. She was very kind.”
The horrific crash sadly orphaned the Dillard boys at such a young age. If convicted, Conley might have to pay child support for the three kids until they attain the age of 18.
A bond of $500,000 has been issued in Patricke’s name. The court has decided that if the 42-year-old Cleveland man gets released on bond, he has to wear an alcohol monitoring device and a GPS monitor and also has to go through drug tests every week.