By Paul T. Choate
Editor’s note: As per request and due to their ages, all victim’s name have been withheld in this story.
June 15, 2012. On Thursday, June 14, at around 10:30 p.m., a wreck in the 4800-block of Meat Camp Road claimed the life of a 16-year old boy and injured four others. The deceased was riding in the bed of a truck at the time of the accident.
According to North Carolina State Trooper David Searcy, the five victims were traveling south on Meat Camp Road when the driver lost control of the 1998 Ford Ranger. The vehicle veered off the road to the right, the driver over-corrected and the vehicle traveled back across the road, veering off the left side, and striking a culvert causing the truck to flip multiple times.
Searcy said two Wings Air Rescue helicopters were called in from Johnson City, Tenn., landing at Green Valley School near the scene of the accident. The two victims in the bed of the truck were airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center. The deceased teen was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital and the other victim was in stable condition as of 1:25 a.m. on Friday.
The other three victims that were in the cab of the truck were taken to Watauga Medical Center and released, sustaining only minor injuries.
Searcy said all victims were 16 years of age.
The driver of the truck only had a provisional license. As per North Carolina law, he was driving after a legal time of day and with too many passengers in the vehicle. No charges have been made yet, Searcy said, adding that would be up to the District Attorney due to there being a death in the incident.
Searcy said it appeared that there was no use of drugs or alcohol on the part of the driver, but said it would not be known for sure until the results of a blood test came back. He also said that he would be “very surprised” if speeding was the cause of the accident and that he believed the wreck happened simply due to the driver’s inexperience behind the wheel of a vehicle.
“Our community has been hit kind of hard this month,” said Searcy, referencing this accident and the death of four-year-old Peyton Townsend on Friday, June 8.