By MATT BLOIS
A driver who hit a cyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway will stay at an inpatient rehabilitation center after he violated a condition of his probation by drinking.
At a hearing on Friday morning, Marshall Neely admitted to drinking heavily while awaiting sentencing. He won’t be allowed to leave the treatment facility for any reason.
In May, Neely pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and destruction of evidence. A video shows that he hit a cyclist with his SUV on the Natchez Trace Parkway in July 2017.
After pleading guilty, Neely moved from his home in Davidson County near the Natchez Trace to New York to live with his sister where he was under the supervision of the U.S. District Court of Northern New York. As a condition of his release he wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol.
According to a court document filed on June 27, Neely tested positive for alcohol twice in June. The document says he told a probation officer on June 15 that he had been “consuming half a pint of vodka every day.”
A lawyer representing Neely said that after testing positive for alcohol use, Neely checked into Cumberland Heights, an inpatient rehabilitation center in Nashville. An employee from the rehab center drove him to the hearing on Friday.
“I want to thank you for the opportunity to return to treatment,” Neely said at the hearing. “I think it’s important.”
The treatment program will administer random drug tests and provide the results to the court.
Neely has already completed a rehabilitation program through Cumberland Heights. In July 2017, following an initial appearance in the same case, he was admitted to the facility. He stayed at that facility from July through August. He then continued treatment in another residential facility and a halfway house until February 2018.
In a court document, a probation officer wrote that Neely attributed his drinking to a recent divorce, a strained relationship with his sons and his sentencing hearing in August.
At the hearing, Judge Waverly Crenshaw acknowledged that alcoholism is a serious difficulty to overcome, but said Neely’s actions showed disrespect for the law.
Lawyers from both sides agreed that the best place for Neely is in treatment.