Car pushes bucket, worker through gas station sign in Kingsport

Rain Smith • Nov 12, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT - Serious injury was averted Thursday when a car hit a bucket connected to a boom truck — and occupied by a worker — at a Kingsport gas station.

Police are calling the boom truck worker “extremely lucky” after the car pushed him and his bucket through a gas station sign.

The accident occurred shortly before noon, at an Appco Market on the corner of North Eastman Road and East Stone Drive. According to Kingsport Police Officer Dale Farmer, a 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Gregory Collins of Kingsport, was approaching the intersection from North Eastman Road.

Collins claims he had a seizure, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, Farmer said. His car went over a concrete curb and into the Appco parking lot.

The car, which is estimated to have been traveling 15 to 20 mph, then hit the extended bucket of a boom truck. Johnny Roark, of Meadowview, Va., an employee of Abingdon-based Jerry’s Signs, was inside the bucket.

Collins’ car pushed Roark and his bucket through a lower portion of the Appco sign before coming to a stop. Farmer said Roark was preparing to raise the bucket to make repairs to the sign, and was fortunate to have not yet reached that height.

“If he’d have been up higher, it would have been a whole lot worse,” Farmer said. “Thank goodness he is fairly young in age. That probably helped him avert really serious injury.”

Roark appears to have received minor injuries, but was going to the hospital Thursday afternoon as a precaution.

Collins was cited for failure to maintain control of his vehicle and driving on a suspended license.

Farmer said drugs or alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the wreck.

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