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Driver Unharmed in Wreck Off of U.S. 321, Vehicle Flips Down Embankment Near Elk Motel

By Mark S. Kenna

June 4, 2013.  On Monday afternoon, a female driver drove her vehicle over a guardrail near the Elk Motel, causing the vehicle to fall into an embankment and overturn, said State Highway Patrol Trooper, David Searcy.

The driver, 56-year-old Sandra Thiele of Leesburg, Fla. began dozing in her vehicle while traveling north toward Boone, Searcy said.

“The driver drove left of center, struck a guardrail, went over a guard rail, down an embankment and overturned,” Searcy said.

Thiele’s vehicle, a black Lincoln Navigator, was going approximately 50 mph when it struck the guardrail, he said.  She was charged with driving left of center and careless recklessness and released at the scene.

The driver did not have any visible injuries even though the air bag did deploy, said Craig Sullivan, director of Watauga Medics Inc.

“The driver showed signs of altered mental status but refused to go to the hospital,” Sullivan said.

Thiele was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, Searcy said.