Man dies after drag racing accident

FROM STAFF REPORTS


   An Elizabethton man died Tuesday afternoon following a traffic accident around 10:30 p.m. Monday on state Highway 91.
   According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Dexter Lunceford, Christopher Bullard, 20, was driving a 1987 Mazda RX-7 when he became engaged in a drag race with Steven Oliver, 18, also of Elizabethton, who was driving a Ford Mustang.
   "They were racing down Stoney Creek, running about 100 mph," Trooper Lunceford said. "They had been drinking and Mr. Bullard lost control," going into a "yawl," characterized by the car beginning to lose traction at a curve and starting to slip-slide, he said.
   "Mr. Bullard ran off the road and struck a utility pole. The total distance traveled from the time that he began to lose control until he struck the utility pole was 550 feet," Lunceford said.
   Bullard and a passenger, Jeremy Burleson, 20, were ejected from the vehicle and were transported by Carter County Rescue Squad to Johnson City Medical Center where Bullard died at 1:21 p.m. Tuesday, Lunceford said. Burleson was admitted to the hospital and later released, according to hospital staff.
   Oliver, who had a 16-year-old male passenger inside his vehicle, has been charged with drag racing and driving while impaired. Other charges are pending, according to Trooper Lunceford.
   There was no contact between Bullard's and Oliver's vehicle and Oliver and his passenger were uninjured, the trooper said.