Man carried by Wings Air Rescue after accident near Watauga Lake

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

A Carter County man was flown to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment after the vehicle he was driving collided with a truck before running off of the roadway and striking an embankment.
Barry Dale Norris, 52, of 2577 Gap Creek Road, suffered major lacerations and possible back and neck injuries after the BMW he was driving crossed the center line and struck a dump truck. The driver of the truck, William Edgar Hughes, Jr., 42, 418 Highway 143, Roan Mountain, was not injured in the accident.
The accident occurred on U.S. Highway 321 approximately a mile and a half south of the Lake Shore Marina. Norris was driving northbound on the highway and Hughes was driving southbound.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Proffitt stated that the vehicle driven by Norris crossed over the center line and struck the truck and then slid approximately 200 feet before coming to a stop on the left side of the roadway in a ditch.
Emergency workers had to extricate Norris by removing the roof of the vehicle to give him medical attention. Members of the Carter County Rescue Squad transported him to Watauga Point where Wings Air Rescue landed. He was transferred to Wings and taken to the Johnson City Medical Center. Further information on his condition was unavailable Tuesday evening.
According to Hughes, the vehicle driven by Norris traveled around a curve on the wrong side of the road and struck his truck. "He was on me before I knew it," Hughes said. "He was flying. I didn't have time to hit my brakes or nothing."
The first person who stopped at the scene, who wished to remain nameless, attempted to use a cell phone to notify authorities but could not get reception on the phone. A passenger in his vehicle also attempted to call the accident in with a cell phone but was unable to.
The man, who stated that he works with the Amateur Radio Association in Johnson County, said when he could not make the call on his cell phone, he used the HAM radio in his vehicle to contact someone else who then contacted 911 on a landline phone. "The amateur radio people are people who are not really recognized until an emergency arises," the man said. "When all other sources of communication go down then we're just getting started."
The cause of the accident is still under investigation and, while charges are pending, none had been filed Tuesday evening.