Man, woman lose lives in separate car wrecks

By Abby Morris

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A 62-year-old Hampton man died in a car accident in the late morning on Wednesday and a 71-year-old Mountain City woman also died as the result of a wreck just over two hours later. Medical problems may have been the cause of both incidents.
   The man, Jack Farmer, was leaving his residence at 44 Tollett St., Hampton, just before 10 a.m. when his 1990 Chevrolet Caprice left the roadway and struck a utility pole before coming to rest against a tree.
   According to Carter County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Keith Range, the accident may have been caused by medical problems that Farmer suffered. "Right now, it looks like he may have had a heart attack," Range said.
   Range said that witnesses reported that the vehicle struck the utility pole and then backed up the roadway and struck a tree.
   "Apparently, his arm or leg struck the gear shift after the car struck the utility pole and knocked the car into reverse, and he backed approximately 50 feet up the road and struck a tree," Range said.
   Emergency workers from the Carter County Rescue Squad and Hampton Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene as well as officers from the Carter County Sheriff's Department.
   According to Anthony Roberts, training director for the CCRS, who was on the scene, when rescue workers arrived they began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Farmer, and Wings Air Rescue was called in to transport him to the Johnson City Medical Center. He added that the injuries Farmer received from the collisions were minor.
   Just over two hours later, around noon, rescue workers and Wings Air Rescue were called to respond to another accident, this time on US Highway 321/TN Highway 67 about 200 feet east of Little Stoney Road.
   According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Proffitt, a 1992 Ford Tempo was traveling West and crossed the center line and through two lanes of traffic and left the roadway. He stated that the vehicle then ran into a ditch and went airborne, striking a rocky embankment and a culvert before coming to rest in a driveway. The car was traveling down an incline at the time of the accident.
   The car was driven by Reba Mae Salmons, 75, 954 Chestnut Drive, Mountain City. She sustained severe chest injuries as a result of physical contact with the steering wheel and was transported by Wings Air Rescue to the Johnson City Medical Center where she was listed in serious condition Wednesday evening.
   The passenger in the car driven by Salmons, a 71-year-old Mountain City woman whose name was not released pending notification of her next of kin, was killed in the crash. According to Proffitt, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene and was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital. The preliminary cause of death, according to emergency workers, was a broken neck.
   Both women were wearing their safety belts, according to Proffitt.
   "There is no apparent cause of the accident and no indications of breaking (applying the breaks) are evident." Proffitt said. He stated that he had spoke with Salmons' sister who told him that Salmons had been in the hospital recently for an illness and was on her way there for an exam at the time of the accident. Proffitt said the woman may have blacked out before she ran off the roadway.
   Charges are pending as investigation into both accidents continues.