Officials with the Hillsville Police Department worked a pair of weekend accidents they say were fortunate to not end in tragedy.
The first involved a juvenile striking a telephone phone near the Hillsville Race-In early Saturday morning. The second involved a Chevy Blazer and a tractor-trailer near the intersection of U.S. 58 and Interstate 77 in Hillsville on Sunday.
According to Hillsville police reports, the first accident occurred at 5:40 a.m. on Saturday morning when a 16-year-old male juvenile from Hillsville was driving a 2006 Chevrolet pickup east on U.S. 58. According to HPD officer Glenn Nester’s report, the driver stated he fell asleep before running off the road and hitting a telephone pole head on just pace Race-In and about 100 feet from Howlett Street.
Power lines were on top of the pickup truck following the wreck and dangling just a few feet above U.S. 58. A small portion of U.S. 58 was closed for about 12 hours, not reopening until 6 p.m. that evening while crews from AEP and CenturyLink worked to repair the lines. The Race-In was without power during the repairs, Hillsville Police Chief Wesley Yonce said. Yonce said the juvenile driver was charged with reckless driving.
“He refused treatment at EMS and his parents were going to have him checked out,” Yonce said. “He was very lucky. The other two in the accident Sunday were just as lucky. Both were pretty bad wrecks to have within a 24-hour period of each other.”
The second accident occurred Sunday at 2:12 p.m. near the intersection of U.S. 58 and Interstate 77’s Exit 14 in Hillsville. According to the police report filed by HPD officer Bradley Hoffman, John Wayman Huff, 61, of Hillsville, was driving a 2011 Freightliner tractor trailer and turning left at the intersection of U.S. 58 and I-77. While in the intersection, a 1996 Chevrolet Blazer driven by Walter Lee Augustine, 57, of Meadows of Dan, ran off the road traveling east and entered into the intersection, striking the trailer of Huff’s tractor-trailer.
According to the report, witnesses stated Huff was stopped at the eastbound lane red light and was passed by Augustine’s vehicle, who was traveling in the median. Augustine’s vehicle then struck and wedged under the trailer. Yonce said a passenger in Huff’s vehicle stated that the Blazer lost control of its brakes prior to the wreck.
HPD officials said both Augustine and a juvenile passenger were unconscious when EMS arrived at the scene. Augustine was airlifted from the scene, while the juvenile passenger was transported by ambulance to Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax for treatment. Yonce was unsure of the status of their injuries. The Hillsville Police Chief added that no charges have been filed in the accident pending an ongoing investigation.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]