Mountain City man identified as victim of car crash

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khelms@starhq.com
The victim of a Saturday evening car crash has been identified as that of Timothy L. Fowler, 29, of Mountain City. According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Eddie Tester, Fowler died when the vehicle in which he was riding left the roadway and plunged into Watauga Lake near Lakeshore Marina.
Trooper Tester said another male and a female, also of Mountain City, managed to escape from the 2001 Chevrolet and were transported by boaters to Lakeshore Marina and then on to Sycamore Shoals Hospital by Carter County Rescue Squad for treatment. Their identities still had not been released Monday night.
Tester said the vehicle lost control while traveling south on U.S. Highway 321/67 and went into the lake. "We're still investigating all of it. We've got more witnesses to interview so it's still up in the air."
THP's Critical Incident Response Team was called to the scene late Saturday and stayed until around 2 a.m. Sunday trying to reconstruct the accident, according to Tester. The team returned again Monday to continue the investigation.
Tester said Sunday evening that it was still unclear who was driving the Chevrolet.
Fowler's body was transported to Quillen-Dishner College of Medicine for autopsy. The accident occurred at approximately 5:45 p.m.
John Burleson of Carter County Rescue Squad's High-Angle Response Team said that when he arrived at the scene Saturday evening, "I had bystanders tell me there was still one person in the vehicle under water.
"We started free diving -- snorkle diving -- to see if we could get down to the vehicle. The vehicle was in about 20 feet of water. We were able to get down to the bottom of where it was at, but we couldn't find it because it was up on its top and the bottom was black and visibility was 2 feet."
Washington County's dive team was called to the scene and responded along with THP, Tennessee Valley Authority Police, Matt Rice from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Hampton-Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department, Carter County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Constables Association, a wrecker service, and two medic trucks from the rescue squad.
The automobile and victim were located by the dive team about three minutes after they entered the water. Fowler's body was recovered and taken to Watauga Point where he was pronounced dead by the coroner.
Burleson said the point where the vehicle left the roadway and entered the water was about a 60-to-65 degree bank. "We put a line down and made several trips up and down to get everything accomplished," he said.