The driver who hit a railroad overpass guardrail on West Stone Drive, resulting in an extensive search for passengers in the surrounding area, has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and felony reckless endangerment.
The wreck occurred about 3:15 Friday morning. On Friday afternoon police reported the driver had been thrown through the windshield and fled. Now police say Henry Morelock Jr., 39, Fall Branch, was arrested early that morning at the crash scene.
The van Morelock was driving is owned by Dennis Morrison, 50, of Kingsport. Morrison was a passenger at the time of the wreck, but was not found until about six hours later by a construction crew.
Morrison reportedly suffered head injuries when the westbound van slammed in to a railroad overpass guardrail on West Stone Drive, at the North Fork of the Holston River, leaving him disoriented. Police believe he walked train tracks crossing the river and then slid down an embankment to Big Elm Road, where he was found at about 9:30 a.m. He was released from Holston Valley Medical Center Friday night.
A third occupant, Rickie Wallen, 50, of Fall Branch, was found at the crash scene by first responders early Friday morning. He was also treated at Holston Valley Medical Center and released.
Police originally thought the van may have carried four occupants, which was attributed to statements from Morelock and Wallen -- both of whom police say were intoxicated. Not knowing how many people were in the van, rescue personnel searched the area twice for crash victims, following tracks and blood later connected to the disoriented Morrison.