TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A Tipton County teen who was riding his bike home from work when he was hit by a truck is now unsure when he’ll walk again.
But as WREG found out, the driver should not have been behind the wheel — something he’s been in trouble for more than 20 times.
Highway 51 runs straight through Tipton County, passing the Sonic where 17-year-old Stephen Lumley worked.
He was leaving work on his bike around 10:45 p.m. on June 25.
“I got on 51. I don’t remember the rest of it,” Stephen said.
He just knows he woke up in a hospital and is now in a wheelchair.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports Stephen crossed the highway that night to go into the left turn lane. He was near the median when a red pickup truck slammed into his bike.
Fehnixx Booker witnessed it in the McDonald’s parking lot just feet away. He said the red truck drove off, but eventually came back.
“I go over to the boy, and it looked like his foot was over his head,” Booker said.
Tanya Richard, Stephen’s mother, said she woke up to Tipton County deputies knocking on her window.
“I knew something bad had happened. I was heartbroken. I was crushed,” she said wiping tears.
Investigators say the driver of the red pickup, Ronald Campbell, didn’t seem impaired, but they claim they found marijuana, meth and cocaine on him.
They also say he shouldn’t have been driving that night, because his license was revoked.
It was at the hospital where Richard found out Campbell was arrested on three felony drug charges, financial responsibility and driving on a revoked license.
He wasn’t charged with hitting her son. At this point, it’s been ruled an accident.
“That man should have never been behind the wheel of vehicle,” Richard said.
Campbell’s recent arrest is another mark on a lengthy rap sheet. Tipton County court documents show he faced more than 80 charges or traffic violations in Tipton County dating back to 1993.
A quarter of the charges are misdemeanors for driving with a suspended or revoked license, or with no license at all.
Suspensions can happen for failing to pay court costs or can come with certain criminal convictions. According to Tennessee law, you’re not allowed to drive.
If caught, you can get a misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, and it gets slightly more severe for repeat offenders. Jail time goes up to one year and the fine is $2,500.
The state’s records show Campbell faced penalties for a suspended license including a few days in jail and some fines.
His license was eventually revoked.
Tipton county records show since 2016, he reportedly continued to drive getting another four misdeamor charges for driving with a revoked license.
The Tipton County District Attorney didn’t agree to an interview, only confirming Campbell’s most recent charges. He referred us to Atoka Police, saying they investigated this most recent case and “made the charging decision.”
Atoka’s police chief said at last check, they’re still waiting on the final report and depending on what it says, more charges are “possible.”
“I truly want the man behind bars,” Richard said. “He should have been there a long time ago.”
Richard said her son spent 18 days in the hospital. He had back fractures, a shattered pelvis, lacerations in his kidney and now has a rod in his femur. He spent his 18th birthday bed-ridden.
This time last year, Stephen was marching in his high school band. He graduated in May, and hoped to continue to play music in college.
“I was set on going to drum corps international. It’s like a college band level. It’s all competitive,” he said.
Stephen says he doesn’t know when he’ll make a full recovery.
“I know I have a long road of recovery and it’s probably going to get longer,” he said.
Campbell bonded out of jail. WREG tried contacting him, but was unsuccessful. He’s expected to make a court appearance Friday.
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