Woman killed, 10 injured in head-on collision

By Julie Fann
star staff

An Elizabethton woman was killed and 10 others injured yesterday in a head-on collision that occurred around 3:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 19E about a half mile south of the TDOC Carter County Work Camp. Wanda Boone, 52, of Mountain View Drive, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
   According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Officer Dexter Lunceford, Boone was traveling south on Highway 19E when her car veered across the highway into the opposite emergency lane, then struck a guard rail and hit a northbound Carter County Work Camp van head-on. There were no other passengers in the vehicle with Boone. The impact knocked the van on its side and caved in the front of Boone's car. Lunceford said the van was on its way back to the Northeast Correctional Facility/Carter County Annex after doing some work at a church in Roan Mountain.
   Nine Carter County Work Camp prisoners and a security guard were injured. According to police, none of the prisoners, or the security guard, were wearing their seat belts when the accident occurred. The driver of the van was prison guard Kenneth Holtsclaw, 43, of Roan Mountain. He suffered a broken leg and other injuries.
   All of the prisoners were injured. They were Tony W. Snyder, 32; Kenneth W. Osborne, 31; Carleton Louis Taylor, 27; Kevin W. Massey, 39; Michael Price, 37; Roger Smith, 31; Joseph Rutherford III, 49; Samuel Horton, 31; and Jason Harris, 29. All of the men were taken to either Sycamore Shoals Hospital or Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. Snyder was transported by Wings Air Rescue. At 10 p.m., Johnson City Medical Center reported that Snyder was in fair condition. Taylor and Massey were in good condition and Osborne had been discharged.
   The Carter County Sheriff's Department and several constables controlled traffic, which meant shutting down Highway 19E and re-routing all traffic onto Crabtree Road. "It was the worst accident I've ever seen. The impact was amazing. It didn't appear that the woman reacted at all before her car hit the van," said Jason Powell, a Johnson City Fire Department employee. Members of the Carter County Rescue Team, the Avery County Rescue Squad, and the Roan Mountain Fire Department attended the scene.
   Two of the prisoners were transported to the Johnson City Medical Center by Wings Air Rescue.
   "We just tried to figure out who was hurt the worst and tried to help them. There were a lot of injuries. I've never seen that many injuries at once before," Powell said.
   Authorities aren't certain what caused Boone to weave and hit the van. The accident remains under investigation.
  Lunceford said the 10 injured and one fatality were the most he had ever worked at an accident in his 18 years of law enforcement experience. He said there was nothing Holtsclaw could have done to stop the accident. Holtsclaw used his brakes, but could not move into the other lane because of traffic, Lunceford said.
   Ed Buckles, manager of the Carter County Landfill, was driving a truck behind the accident when it happened. He said the prisoners were lying on the edge of the road in a line for about 70 yards. Buckles said he tried to comfort the injured men. One had a broken leg. Buckles told the man he could sympathize with him because he had suffered a similar injury eight years ago. He got a jacket from the van and used it to cushion the man's leg until the ambulances arrived.