Investigators at the scene of Tuesday's crash on Cooks Valley Road. Photo by Ned Jilton II
Police are investigating if road rage may have triggered a Tuesday afternoon crash just outside of Kingsport, hospitalizing a man after his Ford Mustang was torn in half behind the driver's seat.
As of Thursday afternoon that driver, Randy A. Roller, 52, of Kingsport, remained hospitalized in good condition. A police report states he suffered a fractured neck and broken arm.
At 1:43 p.m., police responded to the wreck on Cooks Valley Road, approximately one mile west of Euclair Street. According to a Sullivan County Sheriff's Office crash report, officers found the front half of Roller's 1999 Mustang had gone through a fence and come to rest in a field. The rear half crossed the roadway and was located in a ditch on the opposite side.
It's unknown if Roller wore a seat belt in his car, as he had already crawled from the debris when authorities arrived. He was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by EMS, with police crash investigators and an assistant Sullivan County district attorney responding to the scene.
According to the SCSO report, it was learned Roller had been behind a 1995 Ford F-150 just prior to the wreck. As the two vehicles traveled west on Cooks Valley Road, Roller allegedly pulled to the left to pass the pickup on a double yellow line.
The report states the Mustang lost traction and exited the right side of the roadway, striking a utility pole and splitting the car in two. The section of the road where the incident occurred has a 35 mph speed limit. Police cite speed as a factor.
According to Roller's statements to investigators, the driver of the truck tried to prevent him from passing. SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart says police are looking into road rage possibly factoring into the incident.
Roller and the other motorist reportedly didn't know each other. A police report identifies that man as Donald G. Littlefield, 22, of Kingsport.
At this time no charges have been filed. An investigation is continuing.