|On May 7, 2016 at approximately 2:45 PM, Kingsport Central Dispatch was notified of a major single vehicle crash on Fort Henry Drive at the intersection of Tall Tree Drive in the Colonial Heights area of Kingsport. Officers from the Kingsport Police Department Patrol Division and Traffic Unit responded. Their subsequent investigation revealed the following:
A white 2012 Honda CRV compact sport utility vehicle, driven by Danny R. McClellan, was southbound on Fort Henry Drive at the intersection with Tall Tree Drive when for unknown reasons it suddenly veered off the right side of the road and struck a rock embankment. Immediately after impact the vehicle rolled to the left onto the driver’s side and came to a rest.
Mr. McClellan unfortunately sustained unsurvivable injuries in the crash. After first responders extricated him from the vehicle, he was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by Sullivan County E.M.S.; however, he was ultimately pronounced deceased on arrival.
At the time of the crash, a small dog was sitting on Mr. McClellan’s lap between his body and the steering wheel which contained an air bag. As a result of the brutal crash and the violent air bag deployment, the dog was killed instantly.
What exactly caused Mr. McClellan’s vehicle to suddenly veer off the roadway is still under investigation. Investigators are exploring possible theories that the crash could have potentially been either medical or distraction related; however, these are just theories with neither being substantiated at this time.
Many pet owners love their pets so much that they refuse to leave them at home and insist on taking them along everywhere they go. In reality, most pets are safer, healthier, and likely happier when left at home rather than taking them on a car ride.
No pets, regardless of their size, should ever be left loose in a moving automobile. Pets can be a major distraction to the driver. And, in the event of a crash, any unsecured objects, including pets, become airborne missiles that are completely capable of seriously injuring or killing anything in their path, including you.
The most dangerous place for a pet to ride is directly in front of an air bag. There is a reason that safety experts recommend that no child under the age of nine should ever ride in the front seat. And most pets weigh less than a nine year old child.
When it is an absolute necessity to transport an animal in a vehicle, placing them in an appropriately sized crate that has been properly secured in the vehicle is the safest option. Another option is to utilize a harness designed to secure the animal in the seat and still give it the option of sitting up or lying down.
Furthermore, pets are just like small children. Motorists should consider disabling power windows and door locks in the area of the vehicle where their pet is riding. Pets are fully capable of stepping on a power window switch or even inadvertently opening a door, giving them access to the outside world and allowing them to leap from the moving vehicle into traffic. And pets should of course never be left unattended in a parked vehicle.