Bristol man killed, four injured in 19E collision


Photo by Dave Boyd
A Bristol man was killed late Friday night after his vehicle struck an SUV on Highway 19E. The accident injured the driver of the SUV and three passengers in that vehicle.
By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com
A Bristol, Tenn., man died late Friday following a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19E and the Old Bristol Highway near Slagle's Pasture.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Musick, Larry D. Smith, 55, Warfield, Ky., was traveling south on Highway 19E around 11:30 p.m., when the 2003 Honda SUV he was driving was struck by David C. Bolling Jr., 76, of Corpus Christi Drive, Bristol.
Bolling was traveling east on the Old Bristol Highway when he attempted to turn and go north on 19E. Musick said that as Bolling tried to turn left in his 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis, he pulled across the southbound lanes into the path of the Smith vehicle.
"Mr. Bolling was pretty much killed instantly," Musick said.
Smith was transported to Johnson City Medical Center by Wings Air Rescue. A passenger in the front seat of the Smith vehicle, Lafayette Messer, 28, Lovely Ky., was transported to the medical center by Carter County Rescue Squad. Smith and Messer were listed in fair condition late Saturday afternoon.
Messer's wife, Jill, 25, and his 4-year-old son, Lafayette Messer IV, were riding in the back seat. The child was in a child restraint device. Both were taken to the medical center by the rescue squad, where they were treated and released.
"Everyone in the Smith vehicle had seat belts on and the air bags deployed for the driver and front seat passenger. That probably lessened their injuries," Musick said.
"Mr. Bolling, as far as we can determine, was not wearing his seat belt, but it probably wouldn't have made a whole lot of difference in this type of accident. It was kind of a T-bone collision," Musick said.
Speed was not a factor in the accident, according to the trooper.
"It didn't appear like there was any wrongdoing on anybody's part. Mr. Bolling obviously didn't see the oncoming car and pulled across in front of it, and there was nowhere for Mr. Smith to go," Musick said.
Traffic was tied up for about an hour as emergency responders worked to clear the scene. "Mostly race traffic coming back from Bristol had to be routed around the accident scene onto the old highway," he said.
Both Smith and Messer were listed in fair condition at the Johnson City Medical Center Saturday night.
Members of Carter County Sheriff's Department and Watauga Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the accident.