U.S. 19E accident claims life of Hampton man

FROM STAFF REPORTS

   A Hampton man was killed Tuesday morning in a one-vehicle accident near Betsytowne Shopping Center. Witnesses at the scene gave conflicting accounts regarding the possibility that a second vehicle was involved.
   Buster Shell, 72, 119 Nannie Smith Rd., Hampton, was driving a red 1988 Mercury XR7 sedan and traveling south on U.S. Hwy. 19E in the right lane around 10:48 a.m. when he lost control, according to Ptl. Carl Burrough.
   The vehicle went into a slide, crossed the shoulder of the road and a grassy area before sliding into a utility pole. Shell was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt.
   A pet pug bulldog was rescued by members of Carter County Rescue Squad and was taken to the Animal Shelter for safekeeping. The dog will be returned today to the family.
   One witness to the accident told Ptl. Burrough that a silver Honda Accord pulled out in front of Shell at the entrance to Betsytowne Shopping Center and the driver had to leave the roadway to avoid striking the Honda.
   Another witness stated that a gray, late 1980s- or early 1990s Honda Accord pulled out of the intersection in front of the Mercury and that the driver [Shell] slammed on the breaks to avoid rear-ending the slower vehicle. This witness said she felt that Shell had time to react but failed to do so until it was too late.
   Another witness stated that she observed the vehicle driven by Shell traveling at a normal speed and then start to speed up before leaving the roadway. This witness saw no other vehicle.
   One lane of southbound traffic was closed for several hours while workers from Elizabethton Electric System made repairs.