Snow-related crash on I-81 kills one, injures two

J. H. Osborne • Jan 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

KINGSPORT — A weather-related crash between a sedan and a tractor-trailer killed an Alabama woman early Friday on Interstate 81 near Exit 56 (Tri City Crossing), according to information released by the Kingsport Police Department, from which the following details were taken.

Annetta Palmer, 45, Opelika, Ala., was killed.

At about 1:40 a.m. KPD received notice of a crash with injury on I-81 northbound at Exit 56. Subsequent investigation revealed a 2006 Ford Focus with three occupants was northbound and a 2005 Volvo tractor trailer also was northbound behind the Ford.The sedan started to skid and rotate due to the ice and snow covered roadway, and it ended up sideways in the northbound lane. The driver of the tractor trailer could not stop due to the road conditions. The truck struck the sedan on the right side.

All three of the occupants of the sedan were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center.

The driver and front-seat passenger — Anqunetta T. McKissic, 26, Salem, Ala., and Aledia Patrick, 50, Auburn, Ala. — were injured, and Palmer, the right rear-seat passenger, received fatal injuries.

The driver of the truck, Jerry Kelly Helderlein, 49, San Diego, Calif., was not injured. Alcohol and drugs are not suspected in the crash and speed was not a factor.

As of Friday afternoon, the investigation by KPD’s Traffic Unit continued. Police said earlier in the day that no changes were expected.

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