Hit and run with tractor trailer, five taken to hospital
The Rutherford County EMS transported five individuals to Rutherford Regional Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon after a hit and run traffic accident involving two motor vehicles.
At 2:29 p.m. on Tuesday, officers with the Forest City Police Department were notified of a traffic collision near the intersection of Hardin Road and South Church Street in Forest City.
According to a report filed by police, both vehicles involved in the collision had left the area of the incident, including a 2007 Chevrolet driven by Nytia Xiang Smith, 24, of Forest City, and a 1998 M. B. Logging tractor trailer driven by Kenneth Duane Owensby, 45, of Union Mills.
Later that afternoon officers went to Hudlow Road and met with Smith and the four passengers in her vehicle, Shenaada Wilkie (34), Moesha Desha Carson (17), James Selvey (18) and Micheal Stanley (16), all of Forest City.
According to the report, officers confirmed that Smith was in fact the driver of the Chevrolet when it was involved in the collision, but then Smith had asked Wilkie to drive the vehicle due to Smith’s license being suspended. They then drove back to the scene of the collision to relocate the tractor trailer, advising that the driver of the truck refused to stop and speak with them.
Wilkie told officers that she then drove herself and the passengers to her mother’s address on Hudlow Road, according to the report.
Smith advised that she was stopped at the intersection of Hardin Road and South Church Street when the tractor trailer turned onto Hardin Road and struck the left side of her vehicle. She told officers she had backed her vehicle up to avoid being struck but was still hit.
The police report stated that each occupant in Smith’s vehicle reported some type of injury. Smith said she was injured but did not provide specifics; Wilkie advised she had pain in her right leg, shoulders and neck; Carson reported having a sore throat; Selvey said he had lower back pain; and Stanley mentioned he had left knee pain but could not determine if it was sustained in this collision or if it was from an earlier injury from nearly two years prior.
Smith and her four passengers were all transported by EMS to Rutherford Regional.
The Chevrolet was secured at the residence on Hudlow Road and the plate was seized on order for revocation after an insurance stop, according to the police report.
Officers later made contact with Owensby, who advised that he was turning left onto Hardin Road from South Church Street when his tractor trailer was struck by the Chevrolet. He told police that the Chevrolet was not present when he started his turn.
Owensby further stated that he was at a complete stop due to traffic, and was in second gear and traveling at less than five miles per hour while he was turning. He pulled to the shoulder of the road after the collision but the Chevrolet left the area without any of the occupants speaking to him, the police report said.
Owensby said the vehicle later returned to the area but that a different female was driving at the time.
In the report, Cpl. S. Keeter of the Forest City Police Department explained that the damaged area of the Chevrolet indicated that the collision struck the vehicle at approximately a straight angle into the front left head light. The front left quarter panel was still straight with no visible collision damage.
Keeter also stated that he located a rubber type transfer consistent with that of a vehicle tire. The transfer was rubbed onto the Chevrolet and did not indicate that the contact tire was moving or at any noticeable speed during the collision.
After Keeter’s inspection of the tractor trailer, the damaged area was located at the rear left of the trailer’s D.O.T. bar. The bar showed an area where the paint was removed down to the metal. A scuff mark on the closest tire was also located, consistent with the transfer located on the Chevrolet.
Finally, Keeter analyzed the intersection where the collision occurred and noted that the debris field was on Hardin Road, about four feet from the intersection. The debris continued northwest toward Franklin Drive, consistent with both drivers’ accounts that the Chevrolet backed up after the collision, turned into a drive way and left the area.
According to Keeter, the area of the collision on both vehicles and the debris at the wreck site showed that the tractor trailer had nearly completed his turn onto Hardin Road prior to the collision.
“Taking both drivers’ accounts into consideration, it seems unlikely that [the Chevrolet] could sustain the amount of damage and cause five injuries if it were backing from the intersection when the two vehicles collided,” Keeter’s report stated. “Physical evidence suggests that [the Chevrolet] approached the intersection at a speed and struck the rear of [the tractor trailer]. This scenario is more consistent with the damage and reported injuries.”
Damages to the Chevrolet were estimated at $1,500 and estimated damages to the tractor trailer were undetermined.
Charges have yet to be filed in the incident as officers continue their investigation.