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'Extreme high speed' and alcohol main factors in fatal Hawkins wreck, trooper says

Jeff Bobo • Oct 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — A Church Hill man injured in a single-vehicle accident Friday evening succumbed to his injuries Saturday at Holston Valley Medical Center.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Billy Collier said an “extremely high speed” and alcohol were the main contributors to the accident.

Wesley W. Mabe, 22, 451 Payne Ridge Road, suffered what would prove to be fatal injuries Friday around 6:10 p.m. in a crash on Payne Ridge Road about two-tenths of a mile north of the Gibbons Road intersection near Church Hill.

According to a report filed by Collier, Mabe was driving south on Payne Ridge Road when the 2002 Kia he was driving entered a small curve.

“The driver was unable to negotiate the curve and ran off the right edge of the roadway,” Collier stated in his report. “At that time the driver overcorrected the vehicle, sending the vehicle into a yaw. The vehicle crossed both south and northbound lanes, running off the left side of the roadway.

“At that time the vehicle struck a tree, a fence, and another tree before coming to a final rest.”

Mabe was not wearing a seatbelt, and Collier told the Times-News Sunday a seatbelt could have saved Mabe’s live.

“The initial impact was head-on and did ignite airbags, but then he struck a fence and T-boned a tree on the passenger side,” Collier said. “There was no intrusion into the driver area. All the damage was to the passenger area and the front end of the vehicle, and by being unrestrained he was thrown into the passenger side.”

Collier added that there was a strong odor of alcohol on Mabe. Mabe didn’t regain consciousness and reportedly died at HVMC around 11 a.m. Saturday.

Due to it being a single-vehicle accident with only one victim, Collier said there won’t be an accident reconstruction to determine speed.

“That’s three bad wrecks on Payne Ridge that I recall, and all three are speed related,” Collier said. “That’s a 30 mph zone through there.”

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