ROGERSVILLE — The crash site of a single-car accident that killed three people in Hawkins County west of Rogersville on Saturday was discovered shortly after 8 a.m., but police believe the accident happened several hours before that.
According to a report filed by Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Christie Osborne, a 1985 Subaru driven by Ralph Dodson, 41, 118 Davis Court, Surgoinsville, was traveling west on Highway 11-W sometime early Saturday morning when the vehicle left the roadway to the right side and struck a culvert at the driveway entrance to Porter’s Tire Center near the Marble Hall Road intersection.
Osborne said Sunday she has not been able to ascertain why the vehicle left the roadway.
The vehicle overturned after striking the culvert and went down a steep embankment. The vehicle was not visible from the roadway where it came to rest.
Dodson, as well as his two passengers — Ronnie White, 38, 606 Vista Drive, Rogersville, and Candy Riddle, 27, 1445 Route 70, Rogersville — were all ejected from the vehicle.
None of the the three were wearing seat belts, and Osborne stated in her report that seat belts “would have made a difference.”
Osborne noted in the report that alcohol containers were found in the wreckage and alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash.
All three victims were taken to the Quillen College of Medicine for autopsy.
The wreckage was discovered shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday by the tire store proprietor. There’s no way of knowing what time the accident actually happened, Osborne said.
“All we know is it happened sometime during the course of the early morning Saturday and wasn’t discovered until after sunrise,” Osborne told the Times-News Sunday. “Someone from the business where it occurred saw the vehicle a little after 8 a.m. that morning and called it in to 911. Other than that we’re kind of puzzled as to what time it may have happened.
“I have indications that it did happen after midnight. I talked with some people who spoke to at least one of the individuals in the accident, but I haven’t been able to narrow the time down any better than that.”
All three victims were deceased when rescuers arrived on the scene.