Wreck leaves car totaled, three with minor injuries

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

A three-car collision at the intersection of Broad Street and Highway 19E just after 3 p.m. Friday which involved a Carter County Sheriff's Department officer left one car totally demolished but none of the individuals involved were seriously injured.
   According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Proffitt, who investigated the wreck, it seemed like everyone involved was wearing their safety belt and that may have prevented serious injury.
   Involved in the accident were CCSD Sgt. Don Pierce, who was driving his police cruiser; an older model silver Chevrolet driven by Spencer Dowell, 70, of Butler; and a Mazda pickup truck driven by Dennis Leonard of Hampton. Dowell's wife, Irene Dowell, 67, was a passenger in his vehicle. Leonard's son, Kevin Leonard, was a passenger in the pickup truck.
   Witnesses to the accident were able to report to Proffitt what they had seen. "According to witnesses, the Dowell vehicle was traveling south on Broad Street at which time Sgt. Don Pierce of the Carter County Sheriff's Department was engaging the intersection," Proffitt said.
   He stated that Pierce had the right of way and was struck when the vehicle driven by Dowell ran the red light. "The southbound vehicle failed to yield the right of way," Proffitt said.
   It was after the initial contact between the two cars that the third vehicle became involved.
   "The Pierce car continued in a semi-circle until it struck the right rear section of another vehicle driven by Dennis Leonard of Hampton," Proffitt said. "He (Leonard) was stationary in the turning lane of 19E northbound."
   According to Proffitt, Dowell was out of his car and walking around when he arrived on the scene. At that time, Mrs. Dowell was still in the car. Carter County Rescue Squad workers along with Elizabethton Fire Department personnel cut the roof off the Chevrolet and extracted her from the vehicle. Mr. and Mrs. Dowell were transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital.
   Pierce was also walking around outside his vehicle when emergency workers arrived.
   According to Sheriff John Henson, Pierce's injuries were only minor. "He's got a knot on his head and a busted nose," he said. Pierce was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital as well.
   "I don't think there were any serious injuries," Proffitt said. "They were just taken down for observation."
   Emergency personnel from the Sheriff's Department, THP, Carter County Rescue Squad, Elizabethton Fire Department and Elizabethton Police Department all responded to the scene.
   Charges are pending in the accident, according to Proffitt.
   Both Mr. and Mrs. Dowell and Pierce had been treated and released from the hospital as of Saturday.