Fort Campbell Soldier E-4 Specialist Austin McGeough, 21-year old, stationed for the last 17-months at Clarksville’s Fort Campbell Army Base was struck by a vehicle, Saturday, October 15, around 4:00 a.m. After being struck he was ran over two more times.
Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Jeff Landis stated McGeough was visiting with friends at a home near the scene of the accident. He allegedly crushed, then snorted, Percocet a Opioid pain medication prescribed to him, only a few days prior to the accident on Tuesday, October 11, after the removal of his wisdom teeth. In combination with the Percocet, he was drinking Golden Grain alcohol, a 95% proof alcohol, also known as PGA or Everclear, a dangerously toxic alcohol. According to Landis, a drop of this type of alcohol inhaled into the lungs, can potentially be fatal. Landis witnessed a video showing he purchased the alcohol in Pleasant View.
McGeouth broke into Pleasant View Nursery and Florist off Highway 41-A in Pleasant View after wandering away from the home, where he’d been drinking. Nothing was stolen but shelves of jams and jellies had been pulled over.
He called 911 for assistance but his speech was slurred and what they were able to understand didn’t make any sense, in most of the call exchanges. Cheatham County and Robertson County Sheriff’s Departments dispatched deputies to search for him. As deputies were searching, 911 operators continued to call McGeouth back on his cell phone, trying to determine his location, which Landis stated is almost impossible on cell phones, especially when someone is intoxicated and unfamiliar with their surroundings. During one of the 911 calls, they were able to understand him saying someone had been stalking him.
“They’re stalking me right now, I swear to God. I walked into the woods. People who wanted to stalk…oh my God, never mind,” he told the operator canceling the request, discontinuing the call. Police found his wallet and phone in the nursery while investigating the incident.
It appeared to investigators, McGeouth left the nursery, walked onto Highway 41-A and stood on the yellow double lines in the middle of the road. While McGeouth stood in the road, an 18-year old girl, driving a BMW, was headed home but before reaching her destination struck the solider standing in the road. The driver told investigators she did not see the soldier standing in the middle of the road until directly upon him. At the point and time she seen him, it appeared, she told investigators, he leaned toward her car making it impossible to avoid striking him.
Landis reported the combination of the drug and type of alcohol in his system was known to cause hallucinations and he was most likely hallucinating, unaware he was in the middle of a roadway or even struck by the vehicle. The damage to the vehicle indicated, according to Landis, the soldier died upon impact and wasn’t alive when the two other vehicles ran over his body.
After striking McGeouth, the BMW skidded approximately 15 to 20 feet away from where the soldier lay, stopping near the middle of the road. The shaken driver immediately called 911. When she tried getting out of the vehicle the door was jammed, leaving both her and the soldier lying in the road in direct path of oncoming traffic. Upon impact of the incident it knocked out the front headlight of the BMW, further limiting the chances of oncoming traffic from seeing the soldier or her vehicle. When she noticed oncoming traffic approaching she squeezed her hand through a small opening in the window and waved to try and get their attention. Unfortunately, she witnessed two vehicles run over McGeouth’s body.
Detective Landis stated it was very possible the drivers of the two oncoming vehicles didn’t notice anything in the middle of the road until it was too late. Unable to avoid hitting what lie in the middle of the road and the dark area of roadway at that hour, could lead someone to assume they’d ran over a big dog or deer that had just been hit, never imagining it was a person that had been hit moments prior to them driving down the same path. The oncoming drivers didn’t stop nor hit the drivers vehicle.
No charges have been filed against the driver of the BMW. Reports of standard procedure tests, given to the driver at the scene of the accident, proved she was sober. She did not have any drugs or alcohol in her system. According to Landis the driver is extremely distressed over the incident. He intends on following up, reassuring her, it wasn’t her fault, it was an accident, unfortunately a consequence of mixing drugs and alcohol.
McGeouth’s father was a 20-year retired Police Veteran from Connecticut. He had worried about his son going overseas with the military but never imagined losing his son on American land under the recent circumstances, he’d told Landis when they spoke.
Cheatham County Sheriff’s Department, Robertson County Sherriff’s Department, Detective Landis and Fort Campbell Soldier Austin McGeouth’s family do not want his death to be in vain. They have asked that more awareness be shared with communities, children, young and older adults of the consequences resulting from mixing alcohol and prescription drugs, an epidemic in today’s society across America, not just Cheatham or Robertson County, but nationally.
While many teens, young adults and adults themselves may think mixing drugs and alcohol is harmless, believing an incident such as McGeouth’s could never happen, need to be aware it can happen to anyone. What begins as a fun social gathering can quickly turn into a family nightmare after someone becomes intoxicated by alcohol and/or uses drugs and alcohol together, resulting all to often in the death of someone’s mom, dad, grandparent, brother, sister, friend, child or any number of other family or community members. It affects not only the family of the loved one(s) but communities, for some leaving a memory they wish they could forget.
October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to learn more about alcohol, drugs or how to talk with your family you can visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov or contact Cheatham County Enhancement Coalition an organization working to educate and promote community involvement in reducing alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and other health issues in Cheatham County. They can be reached at (615) 569-4400, Facebook or www.cccecoalition.
Article also published in the I-24 Exchange Newspaper distributed on October 21, 2016, www.exchangehotspot.com .
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