Head-on crash kills one, injures three

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   An Elizabethton woman was killed and her two children were injured in a head-on collision between an SUV and a minivan near the Inland Paperboard plant on West Elk Avenue Wednesday night.
   According to the Elizabethton Police Department, Teresa Sims, 35, 111 Joe Wilson Road, died of her injuries after the minivan she was driving was struck by a Jeep Cherokee.
   According to EPD Captain Rusty Verran, the Jeep Cherokee driven by Joshua D. Whitehead, 24, 227 Centerview Drive, was traveling northbound on West Elk Avenue when his vehicle crossed the center line and struck an Oldsmobile Silhouette van driven by Sims.
   Police said the Sims' two sons- ages 11 and four were also injured in the accident. Wings transported the youngest child to the Johnson City Medical Center and later returned to transport the driver of the van. The Carter County Rescue Squad transported the 11-year-old to Sycamore Shoals Hospital.
   Police did not release the children's names. Their condition was unknown at press time.
   Sims was pronounced dead at approximately 2:21 a.m. Thursday, police said. Elizabethton Fire Department and CCRS paramedics worked to free Sims from her vehicle.
   Whitehead was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital by the CCRS. He was charged with three counts of aggravated assault by reckless conduct with a motor vehicle, Verran said.
   The accident closed down a portion of West Elk Avenue for approximately two hours. The EPD's Specialized Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team investigated the accident with assistance from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
   A crowd of around 25 onlookers gathered along West Elk Avenue to view the wreckage while police were conducting their investigation.
   Verran said no alcoholic beverage containers were found in the vehicles. He said a blood test had been performed on Whitehead.
   Verran also said no seat belts appeared to be in use by any of the occupants of either vehicle.