'I thought we were dead': Driver arrested after wrong turn on 11-W results in head-on crashes

Jeff Bobo • Jan 15, 2018 at 10:48 PM


CHURCH HILL — One suspect was in custody Monday night after allegedly hitting at least two vehicles while driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes of Highway 11-W in Church Hill.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Monday, Church Hill police and firefighters responded to a report of a head-on collision on the stretch of highway in front of Volunteer High School.

There was a debris path in the westbound lanes stretching from the Tipton Road intersection all the way to the Kingsport Press Road sign on the side of the highway where crash victim Whitney Arnold's car came to rest.

Church Hill police were still interviewing witnesses and weren't prepared to comment on the wreck Monday night — except to confirm that one suspect was in custody.

Arnold, who was westbound on 11-W on her way home to Surgoinsville at the time of the wreck, told the Times News at the scene she thought she was dead when she saw headlights coming straight at her.

"We were heading home and he was coming up the wrong side of the highway," Arnold said. "He hit us, then another car hit us on the side and spun us around, and there we lay. It was awful."

Arnold said she was told by an officer that the intoxicated suspect had just left a nearby store moments before the crash.

"I thought we were dead," she said. "I thought we were about to die. I honestly did."

Arnold added, "I'm just shook up. My finger hurts a little but it could have been a lot worse. It's really scary. They said he (the suspect) tried to run, and the law was fighting with him and finally got him. He couldn't run far, they said he's so drunk."

No serious injuries were reported.

Kingsport Times News Videos