|On December 11, 2015 at approximately 8:00 PM, Officers from the Kingsport Police Department’s Patrol Division and Traffic Unit responded to investigate a crash that had just occurred on West Stone Drive near the intersection with Sherman Place in Kingsport. Their subsequent investigation revealed the following:
A 2000 Buick LeSabre, driven by Edward L. Hutchins and also occupied by Anna B. Wagers, was westbound on West Stone Drive approaching Sherman Place. A 2001 Toyota 4Runner, driven by Brian L. Kanipe, was eastbound on West Stone Drive approaching Sherman Place from the opposite direction.
The Buick suddenly veered sharply left, crossed the center turn lane, entered the oncoming lanes of traffic, and struck the Toyota in a head-on impact. Both Mr. Hutchins and Ms. Wagers received incapacitating injuries and were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by Sullivan County E.M.S. Mr. Kanipe also sustained incapacitating injuries; however, he was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by friends and family.
Several lanes of West Stone Drive remained closed to traffic for over two hours until the crash could be properly investigated and the damaged vehicles could be towed from the scene. All lanes have since been reopened for normal travel.
An independent witness reported observing erratic driving by Mr. Hutchins just prior to the crash, and he was preparing to notify authorities when the crash occurred. Alcohol and drug use on the part of Mr. Hutchins is believed to be a significant contributing factor in this crash.
None of the individuals involved in this crash were wearing their seatbelt as required by law. Had these individuals been properly restrained, their injuries would likely have been lessened or even possibly avoided altogether. The Kingsport Police Department strongly encourages ALL occupants of ALL motor vehicles to wear their seatbelt ALL of the time. It is the law, but more importantly, it might just save a life.
The investigation into this crash is ongoing by the K.P.D. Traffic Unit with charges pending. Further information will be released as it develops.