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Amber Alert

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One dead in three-vehicle accident

A Galax, Va., man was killed Wednesday afternoon and another man was hospitalized following a fiery three-vehicle wreck on N.C. 89 West just south of the Virginia state line. A tractor-trailer driven by Marvin Patton, 53, of Houston, Texas, was traveling south on N.C. 89 when its brakes failed and it crossed the center line at a sharp curve on the mountain road, said Trooper J.R. Vindich of the N.C. Highway Patrol. The incident occurred just before 4:30 p.m.

The tractor-trailer collided first with a Nissan pickup truck and then with a Chevrolet van before hitting the side of a mountain and catching fire. Vindich estimated the tractor-trailer was traveling at 65 mph on impact.

The driver of the pickup truck, 68-year-old Glenn Roy Shumate of Galax, died instantly, Vindich said. The two occupants of the van were uninjured.

Patton escaped from the cab of the truck before it ignited and was treated at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin for minor injuries.

Members of the Skull Camp Volunteer Fire Department arrived within about five minutes of the accident to find the cab of the tractor-trailer fully involved in flames. Capt. Josh Moose said an explosion from one of the fuel tanks started a small woods fire on the side of the mountain.

Vindich said Patton was hauling potatoes from Michigan to Charlotte and was instructed by his company to get off I-77 at the U.S. 58 exit in Virginia and take Highway 89 into North Carolina. He said Patton was told this was a faster route.

Marvin was released from the hospital around 10 p.m. Wednesday and charged with death by motor vehicle, exceeding a safe speed and driving left of center. He remained in the Surry County Jail Wednesday night.

Vindich praised the efforts of Skull Camp firefighters in extinguishing the flaming tractor-trailer as well as the Mount Airy Rescue Squad, who he said are “always A-plus on their game.”

The Galax Fire Department also assisted at the scene.


Anonymous said...

hmmm, that is certainly not a quicker way. you go twice as far and much slower...unless you're avoiding interstates. Mr. Shumate had been a trucker himself. He was a true professional. What a shame someome tried to cheat the law and took another's life!