One arrested in 2008 drag racing crash in Kingsport; car that fled scene owned by father of man who wrecked

Rain Smith • Sep 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A driver police say wrecked while drag racing in Kingsport last fall has been indicted and was arrested Tuesday on numerous charges.

Police say they are still developing information on another driver who fled the scene, adding that the car that person was driving belongs to the father of the man who wrecked.

The incident occurred Sept. 14, 2008, about 4:45 p.m. A 2008 Ford Mustang driven by Joseph R. Cornell, 23, was allegedly racing a Chevrolet Corvette on East Stone Drive.

Cornell lost control of his Mustang, went airborne and rolled through the parking lot of Nard’s Automotive, 3225 E. Stone Drive. The Mustang struck numerous parked vehicles — flipping one onto its top — before coming to rest outside the repair shop.

The Corvette fled the scene.

Cornell underwent several surgeries and was hospitalized for numerous days.

On Wednesday, Kingsport Police Department Officer Dale Farmer said the Corvette is owned by Cornell’s father, David Cornell.

Police believe the Cornells know who was driving the Corvette but have not cooperated in that aspect of the investigation.

However, due to DNA evidence collected from the car and witnesses to the crash reviewing photo lineups, police say they are close to placing charges against the suspect.

Joseph Cornell was arrested Tuesday and charged with DUI, drag racing, drag racing resulting in serious bodily injury, reckless endangerment, possession of methadone, and possession of alprazolam.

Due to damage sustained to vehicles parked outside Nard’s Automotive, Joseph Cornell was also charged with vandalism over $10,000, four counts of vandalism over $1,000, and one count of vandalism of $500 or less.

Joseph Cornell turned himself in at the Kingsport jail and posted a $30,000 bond.

An investigation is continuing, with more charges pending.

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