ST. CLAIR — A Rogersville man was killed early Sunday morning after the Acura he was driving was split in two as a result of a two-vehicle accident on Route 113 in the St. Clair community in western Hawkins County.
Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell, who responded to the accident, said that in his decades of working in public safety he has never seen a wreck like it.
“They (the Tennessee Highway Patrol) called in the reconstructionist this morning and they’re going to call them back, to try to figure out what happened,” Murrell said. “The first vehicle went off the road and hit an embankment twice, then appeared to have been struck by that other vehicle, but I don’t know how. In many years of working wrecks that was probably the worst incident I’ve seen.
“It was pretty bad. One of the vehicles was cut completely in two.”
According to a report filed by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Lee, the victim, Paul J. Qualls, 43, Rogersville, wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Lee stated in his report that a seat belt “would have made a difference.”
Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Qualls was driving north on Route 113 in a 1998 Acura.
The accident occurred west of the Bulls Gap/St. Clair Road intersection.
Lee stated in his report the northbound vehicle behind Qualls was a 2004 GMC pickup driving by Cory Vett T. Davenport, 20, of Whitesburg.
According to Lee’s report, Qualls lost control, ran off the roadway and then traveled back onto the roadway and was struck by Davenport’s pickup.
According to the report, Davenport also was not wearing a seat belt. He was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries and released.
Lee stated in his report that charges are pending.
Route 113 was closed and traffic detoured with the assistance of the Tennessee Department of Transportation until about 6:05 a.m. for cleanup and investigation.
Murrell said Hawkins County rescuers haven’t worked a wreck this vicious in a long time.
“Both pieces of the Acura were sitting in the roadway, the victim was laying in the road and the pickup ended up in the ditch,” Murrell said. “When I say the car was cut in two, you had the front seats and engine area in one place and you had the rear seats and trunk and the rest of it sitting in another place. It was a strange looking accident.
“When I left this (Sunday) morning I spoke to the reconstructionist and he didn’t have any idea how it happened. They were going to wait and talk to Mr. Davenport and see what he said.”