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Two teens killed in Carter County wreck

REX BARBER • Mar 19, 2007 at 12:03 PM

A single-vehicle crash in Carter County early Sunday morning claimed the lives of two local teenagers.

According to Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes, about 2:30 a.m. Sunday a Chevrolet S-10 pick-up crashed in the 1800 block of Powder Branch Road.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Dexter Lunceford investigated the crash and said the driver, Timothy L. Nunnery, 17, 3402 McKinnley Road, Johnson City, was traveling south on Powder Branch and lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a curve, ran off the road and struck a large tree broadside on the driver's side door.

Nunnery was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated.

He was then flown to the Johnson City Medical Center by Wings Air Rescue, where he was listed in critical condition upon arrival.

According to Lunceford, Nunnery died at JCMC about 12:30 p.m.

The other occupant in the vehicle was Dustin Cupp, 18, 162 Fox Road.

Mathes said Cupp was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Lunceford said it did not appear that either Nunnery or Cupp was wearing a seat belt.

According to Lunceford, Cupp was ejected out of the rear window of the truck.

Both speed and alcohol may have been factors in the crash, according to reports.

"Speed is a factor, and preliminary investigation indicates alcohol may have been involved," Lunceford said. "There was some alcohol found at the scene."

Cupp was the son of Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp.

By Sunday afternoon an array of flowers had been placed by friends and family at the scene of the wreck.

The deaths will certainly be felt at close-knit Happy Valley High School, where Nunnery was a student and Cupp was a former student.

"These things are never easy," Principal Dale Campbell said. Campbell said he visited with Nunnery's mother on Sunday morning.

"There are no right words to say at a time like that, but we just wanted to show her our support," he said.

He is preparing to provide counseling to any students who may request it.

"We have two on-site, full-time counselors and if there is a need, we can bring another counselor over from the middle school, which is next door. The county can bring in more if there is a need."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families," Campbell said. "I can't imagine losing a son like that. It is hard enough to lose a loved one in the fullness of life."

Director of Schools Dallas Williams said he was prepared to offer Campbell support if he requested it.

"I am certainly saddened by the news," Williams said. "We certainly offer our deepest sympathy to the families."

Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson contributed to this report.

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