One dead, two critically injured in Hwy. 19E wreck

By Julie Fann
star staff

Alvin Trivett, during his routine drive home from his job at Boone Construction Wednesday evening on U.S. Highway 19E, knew he was in danger when he saw a vehicle in front of him weaving in and out of traffic.
   "This little brown car was coming down the road, and she swerved and hit the truck head-on. We were behind her, and she about hit the guard rail two or three times while she was coming down the hill before she hit the truck," Trivett said.
   One person died and two others were seriously injured in the accident, which occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. on U.S. Highway 19E about 100 yards south of where the highway intersects Tiger Creek Road, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Proffitt.
   According to Proffitt, Iva J. Chapman Duckworth, 58, 203 Smith Ave., Elizabethton, was driving north when her car crossed the center line of traffic and hit a pickup truck traveling south and driven by R.J. Markland, 75, 160 Old Rock Quarry Rd., Roan Mtn. Mary Ruth Markland, 63, also of 160 Old Rock Quarry Rd., was a passenger in the pickup truck and was pronounced dead at the Johnson City Medical Center after she was flown there by Wings Air Rescue.
   R.J. Markland and Duckworth were listed in critical condition at JCMC, according to Proffitt.
   Proffitt said the front end of the pickup was pushed back into the passenger compartment, possibly severing a gas line, which caused the vehicle to burst into flames.
   Trivett said he assisted in getting the Marklands out of the pickup truck before it was consumed by fire.
   "We got the people in the truck out - me and my boy," Trivett said. Trivett said another man who had already left the scene busted the window of the truck so the passengers could be pulled to safety.
   Christy Jones, of Sulfur Springs, was on her way home from Spruce Pine, N.C. where she was visiting her grandparents who have cancer. She said when she saw the truck burst into flames she thought it might blow up completely.
   "I said, 'It's gonna' blow; it's gonna blow!'. All I did was yell; I mean I just said, 'bust the window' to get the people out because the truck was already on fire, and I called 911," she said. Jones said people who live in homes on either side of 19E also called 911.
   "We (Jones and her grandparents) were just talking about how you could die at any minute and then this happens. It's just really weird," Jones said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carter County Sheriff's Department, Carter County Rescue Squad, Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and Hampton Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the scene.
   Proffitt said the accident is still under investigation and it is unknown if drugs or illness were involved.