KINGSPORT — A Hawkins County woman and her baby were hospitalized Monday afternoon when the mother apparently struck a brick mailbox stand and rolled her van in a quiet subdivision near Carters Valley Road.
Carters Valley Fire Department Chief Mike Yates said neither the child nor the mother, Tara Jones, appeared to have suffered serious or life-threatening injuries.
The accident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Monday on Riverchase Drive in the River Chase subdivision off of Carters Valley Road about a half mile from the Sullivan County line.
Jones was apparently driving north on Riverchase Drive toward Carters Valley Road when she struck the brick mailbox stand in front of 131 Riverchase Drive. As a result of the impact, the van came to rest on its roof in the middle of the road.
Ezra Huffman was working in his yard next door when he heard the accident. Huffman said the baby was still secure in a child safety seat hanging upside down.
“I heard it, and I looked and seen that car upside down, and I come running down here,” Huffman told the Times-News from the scene. “I got in there and undone the belt that holds the child seat up, and I got it out of the seat. She was still hanging upside down, and she was hollering ‘get my baby out.’”
Larry Edens, who lives at the residence where the mailbox was struck, went outside to assist when he heard the accident. He and Huffman decided to call 911 immediately rather than try to extricate Jones themselves.
Yates said when he and other rescuers arrived on the scene the neighbors were holding the baby. Jones was quickly removed from the vehicle, and mother and child were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center via Church Hill EMS ambulance.
There was no information available Monday evening on their condition. Yates said they both seemed shaken but not badly hurt.
“There’s no doubt that if (the baby) hadn’t been in a child safety seat it would have been a lot worse,” Edens said. “(Jones’) number one concern was the baby. She didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger, so we didn’t try to get her out or move her.
“We called 911 and let them handle that.”
The accident is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.