Jeff Bobo • Oct 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

A Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department tanker/pumper truck was totaled Monday when it was rear-ended while at the scene of an accident on 11-W. Photo by David Grace.


SURGOINSVILLE — As Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department firefighters were working a rollover accident on Highway 11-W Monday morning, a vehicle traveling westbound on 11-W rear-ended a fire truck that was parked on the westbound passing lane.

Neither driver was seriously injured, but Carters Valley VFD Chief Mike Yates said the fire truck was totaled.

Shortly before 10 a.m., the Carters Valley VFD and Tennessee Highway Patrol were dispatched to a minivan rollover on 11-W near the Stoney Point Road intersection.

According to investigating Trooper Billy Collier the van, driven by Raysha Cowan, 18, of Rogersville, was westbound when it exited the roadway into the median, rolled twice and landed on its wheels in the eastbound passing lane.

Cowan was wearing a seat belt and was not badly injured. She was treated and released from Holston Valley Medical Center, and Collier said she will not be cited.

Rescuers had completely blocked the eastbound lane during cleanup, and the Carters Valley VFD tanker/pumper was parked in the passing lane of the westbound lane adjacent to the wreck scene on standby in case a fire erupted.

About 30 minutes into the cleanup, a car driven by Marion South of Bean Station rear-ended the unoccupied tanker/ pumper parked in the westbound passing lane, according to the THP.

“The first patient had been extricated and transported to the hospital, and as the guys were walking toward the truck we heard a real short screech and then a loud thump,” Yates said. “As you can tell by the skid marks — only about 12 feet of black marks — he probably didn’t see us until the last second. The truck did not move any, so it was a solid hit.”

South complained of pain in his chest and neck but was later treated and released from HVMC.

Yates said he’s grateful that neither driver was badly hurt, but he was disappointed that the tanker was totaled. The department had recently completed a fund-raising drive to match grant funds that paid for a new $300,000 tanker, and he said he’s not looking forward to trying to raise more money to replace this tanker.

Yates said the tanker was appraised at $50,000 and the insurance adjuster had officially totaled the tanker by late afternoon, but a replacement tanker will likely cost substantially more than $50,000.

Although the fire truck was parked on the downward slope of a hill, Yates said the driver of the car should have seen the truck.

“He’s got at least a quarter of a mile distance from the crest of the hill, and other traffic was moving around the truck with no problem, so he should have seen it,” Yates said. “The truck is totaled, and our community is once again one fire truck short. The whole fire body has torn loose, and the rear end is bent.

“The truck was in pump gear with a charged hose, and as soon as the wreck happened there was a big stream of water out the bottom of the truck, so it’s busted the pump.”

While Collier was investigating the first accident, Trooper Christie Osborne responded to the second accident. She said any potential charges against South are pending the completion of her investigation.

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