16-year-old female injured in wreck during rainfall on 19E

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   According to officers, inclement weather may have contributed to initiating a traffic accident that left a 16-year-old female seriously injured after the vehicle she was driving crashed into the tractor portion of a tractor trailer truck in Valley Forge Monday afternoon.
   The juvenile female was extricated from her Chevrolet S10 pickup truck by members of the Carter County Rescue Squad and the Hampton/Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department after they cut the roof off of the vehicle. She was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center hospital for treatment by members of the CCRS. She was listed in stable condition Monday evening.
   According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Brad Proffitt, the female lost control of her vehicle as she attempted to pass the tractor on U.S. Highway 19E in front of State Line Gift shop, near the intersection of the highway and Jenkins Hollow Road.
   "After she passed the tractor, she got in front of the tractor at which point she lost control and left the right side of the roadway," Proffitt stated. "Then she re-entered the roadway and the truck spun around into the tractor's lane of travel creating an almost head on collision."
   Both vehicles were traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 19E at the time of the collision. An officer on the scene stated that he believed the vehicle driven by the juvenile female may have hydroplaned on water that was in the roadway due to the rain.
   The tractor was driven by Joseph Powell, 46, of Fall Branch and is part of the fleet for Aero Transporters, Inc., based in Ellensville, NY.
   "I was coming around that curve and it was raining real hard," Powell said. "She came around me and then cut back over in front of me and she lost control.
   "Her vehicle came up on the bank and slid across the bank and then got back on the road and spun around and around and impacted the front of my truck."
   The northbound lanes and center lane of U.S. Highway 19E were shut down Monday afternoon while emergency personnel extricated the female juvenile from her vehicle and cleared the scene of debris, which had scattered across the three lanes. Traffic flow was limited to one lane of travel in each direction.