Franklin man pleads guilty to federal charges in Natchez Trace hit and run

Staff Reports • May 21, 2018 at 4:17 PM

Marshall Neely III, 59, of Franklin, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to reckless aggravated assault, lying to a federal agent and obstruction of justice.

Neely was indicted July 28 after he hit and injured a bicyclist with his vehicle July 8, 2017 while he drove on the Natchez Trace Parkway. After he hit the bicyclist, Neely failed to stop and fled the scene.

According to court documents, on the morning of July 8, 2017, two people were riding their bicycles on the Natchez Trace Parkway when a black Volvo sport-utility vehicle hit one from behind. The impact knocked the rider to the ground and destroyed the bicycle. The cyclist was injured and taken to Williamson County Medical Center by ambulance. The other cyclist had a helmet-mounted camera, which recorded the collision, as well as the Volvo driving away from the scene. The video of the incident was later posted online and contained a visible license plate and other decals, which led to the identification of Neely.

The same evening, law enforcement officials arrived at Neely’s house and found him unconscious on the floor. Neely later admitted he was driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway earlier in the day and claimed someone threw a bicycle at his car. He also admitted after seeing the video posted online, he removed the decals from the rear window of his car because he knew they would lead to his identification.

According to the plea agreement, Neely agreed to accept a term of imprisonment of 10 months, to be followed by three years of supervised release, when he is sentenced Aug. 17. The agreement also calls for Neely to pay $1,210 in restitution to the victim.

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