Driver in Kingsport drag racing wreck in fair condition; police seize other vehicle involved

Rain Smith • Sep 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The driver of a Mustang that wrecked while drag racing Sunday afternoon on Stone Drive is in fair condition.

Joseph Cornell, 22, of 1008 Greenvine Place, Kingsport, has underwent several surgeries at Holston Valley Medical Center, according to Kingsport Police Officer Dale Farmer. He has more operations to come, but looks like he will survive, Farmer said.

According to police, Cornell\'s Mustang was drag racing a Corvette about 4:45 p.m. He apparently lost control of the vehicle, went airborne and rolled through the parking lot of Nard\'s Automotive, 3225 East Stone Drive. The Mustang struck 10 parked vehicles -- flipping one onto its top -- before coming to rest outside the repair shop.

While an investigation is ongoing and charges are pending, Farmer said police seized the Corvette that was involved. It has been searched, combed over for evidence and returned to its owner -- who was not driving at the time of the race and wreck.

\"We\'re still working on the exact driver,\" Farmer said. \"We know the owner was not driving it at the time.\"

No further details were provided at this time.

At Nard\'s Automotive, owner Nard Gibson says two of the vehicles hit by Cornell\'s Mustang were totaled. The vehicles\' owners took the news as well as can be expected, he said.

Gibson received a call about the wreck at his automotive business, and arrived on scene about 15 minutes after it occurred.

\"I was afraid to get out of the car,\" Gibson said of the wreckage he encountered outside his shop. \"You\'re afraid of what you\'re fixin\' to see.\"

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