Franklin Police Arrest Man Responsible for Hit-and-Run, Destroying Multiple Graves in Local Cemetery
Authorities in Franklin are currently on the scene of a vehicle crash that reportedly destroyed multiple graves, according to eyewitnesses.
Franklin Police have released an update on the incident, confirming that a vehicle did damage numerous graves after striking them in the cemetery near Sterling Road.
On January 11, 2023, at approximately 5:37 PM, the Franklin Police Department responded to a complaint in reference to a vehicle that was involved in a hit and run accident in the area of Main Street and Northwest Boulevard. At approximately 6:40 PM, the Franklin Police Department responded to a call of a subject that was driving in the cemetery near Sterling Road and had struck several graves. Officers arrived on scene and made contact with the driver.
Police also confirmed that the same vehicle responsible for damaging graves in the cemetery was also involved in a reported hit-and-run an hour earlier at a different location nearby.
During the course of the investigation, the driver of the vehicle located in the cemetery was also identified as the suspect involved in the hit and run accident prior.
Authorities arrested Martin Sonnier, 56, of Parks, LA on charges of "operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated - 2nd offense, criminal damage to property - 40 counts, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and hit and run driving.
On Thursday (Jan. 12) Ruth Bonette shared heartbreaking images from the cemetery as family members and loved ones were literally left to pick up the pieces after the damages that were caused by Sonnier.
A Facebook update from KWBJ TV 22 confirmed that Sterling Road in Franklin is currently closed to traffic in the curve at the cemetery as investigators look into the incident.
Facebook user Baily LeBlanc posted a photo of a truck in a graveyard, telling us that a lot of graves were destroyed as residents continue to check on the status of their loved ones who have been laid to rest in the local cemetery.
LeBlanc captured the photo as she witnessed the driver attempting to get away after crashing into the cemetery. She described the chaotic scene in the comment section attached to the shocking image.
He was backing up and driving forward hitting a different grave each time… tried to drive away and got stuck on a grave… police took him but now I’m trying to figure out how they gonna get his truck out!
Concerned residents are still trying to figure out if the crash may have damaged the graves of their loved ones.
There was also speculation that the driver of the vehicle seen in the cemetery was impaired. One woman stated that she was the victim of a hit-and-run earlier that night and the truck seen in the photo was allegedly responsible for the damages.
While nothing has been confirmed by Franklin authorities at this time, numerous eyewitnesses claim to have seen the vehicle in the photo driving erratically in the Franklin area throughout the day.
At this time, the biggest concern from numerous Franklin residents is the status of their loved ones who are buried in the cemetery.
The Franklin Police Department is handling the case and we will update this story when more information becomes is made available.