Police cruiser starts 4-car pileup on West Elk Avenue

  By Abby Morris
  star staff
  amorris@starhq.com
  Heavy traffic on one of the city's busiest streets on Tuesday afternoon led to a four-car pileup when a city police cruiser struck the rear end of a truck that was stopped on the highway for a turning vehicle, starting a chain reaction.
  The accident happened between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Tuesday morning on West Elk Avenue in front of the Summers-Taylor office.
  According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Dexter Lunceford, a Lincoln Mark 7 driven by David Honeycutt had stopped in the left hand lane of the two westbound lanes of traffic on West Elk Avenue and was attempting to make a left hand turn into the parking lot of Summers-Taylor. Lunceford also said the two vehicles behind Honeycutt's Lincoln -- a Mercury Tracer driven by Alicia Baird and a Ford F150 4x4 truck driven by Dustin Canter -- had stopped as well and were waiting on Honeycutt's vehicle to turn at the time of the collision.
  At that time, Lunceford said, an Elizabethton Police Department cruiser driven by EPD Capt. Tom Bowers struck the rear end of the truck driven by Canter and started the chain reaction. "The two vehicles in front of Mr. Bowers stopped but Mr. Bowers did not stop in time," Lunceford said. It was a four-car chain reaction rear end."
  Lunceford said accidents such as this occur frequently. "It happens all the time," he said. "In congested traffic people get to driving closer to the car in front of them than they should. Then someone a few cars in front of them stops and before you know it, someone is not able to stop in time."
  No one was injured in the accident, which reduced westbound traffic to one lane of travel and temporarily closed both lanes while the vehicles were being removed from the scene.
  Bowers was issued a citation for following improperly, according to Lunceford. "State law requires that you keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you so in the event anything happens you can avoid a collision," he said.