A three-car accident on U.S. 411 South near Springview Road Monday morning claimed the life of a 72-year-old Tellico Plains woman.
Lola D. Walker, 72, of Tellico Plains, died at University of Tennessee Medical Center late Monday afternoon, according to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver of another vehicle involved, Haley Sparks, 19, Crye Road, Maryville, was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released.
The driver of the vehicle that allegedly caused the accident, Jason David Dyer, 27, Cold Springs Road, Walland, was flown by LifeStar to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
A passenger in Walker’s vehicle, James L. Gray, 76, was also taken to UT. No information was available on their conditions, according to the nursing supervisor’s office.
According to the traffic report, Dyer was traveling north on U.S. 411 in a 2002 Nissan Altima near Springview Road at about 11:10 a.m., when he began passing vehicles at a high rate of speed in the continuous turn lane.
Dyer lost control of his vehicle and drifted into the southbound lane and struck Sparks’s vehicle, which was traveling south in a 1998 Pontiac Firebird. The impact caused the left front wheel of Dyer’s vehicle to sheer off, causing the vehicle to rotate into the path of Walker’s 2012 Toyota Camry, as she was also traveling south. The impact caused Dyer to be ejected out of the passenger side window and onto the road.
U.S. 411 was closed for a short time so LifeStar could land on the highway.
Dyer was not wearing a seat belt, but the air bags in his vehicle deployed, according to the report. Walker and Gray were both wearing seat belts and the air bags deployed. Sparks was wearing a seat belt, but there was no air bag deployment in her vehicle.
The Blount County Fire Department, Blount County Rescue Squad, Maryville Police Department and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service, were all on the scene.
Charges against Dyer are pending while the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit investigates the accident. Dyer was arrested early Sunday morning in Alcoa and charged with driving under the influence and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance. He bonded out of the Blount County Detention Facility later that morning.
Heard big boom
Tony Landers, who lives in a house on the hill above where the accident occurred, told The Daily Times that he was standing in his living room with his phone when he heard the crash.
“I immediately called 911,” Landers said. “I knew it had to be bad. It sounded like a cannon went off, just one great big spontaneous boom.”
“This is a straightaway and all three drivers should have been able to see each other,” Landers said. “A Tennessee Highway Patrol unit sits down there almost every day. I’ve seen them write as many as six tickets in an hour,” Landers said.
The accident was about 500 yards from where a well-publicized fatality occurred in August 2012, involving 16-year-old Amelia Keown. The accident prompted the state Legislature to pass “Amelia’s Law,” which allows a judge to order offenders and parolees to wear a monitoring devices if alcohol or drugs played a role in their crimes.