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KPD probes fatal wreck

Fatal accident investigators continue to study evidence for possible charges following a two-car accident that claimed the life of a Webb School student last week.

Eric Encarnacion, a 16-year-old passenger, was pronounced dead on arrival at The University of Tennessee Medical Center following the Wednesday morning, Feb. 1, accident on Sherrill Boulevard near the intersection with Parkwest Boulevard.

The driver, Webb junior Benjamin Prichett, 17, was listed in stable condition at UT as of press deadline Tuesday.

Based on a “preliminary investigation” by Knoxville Police Department and “witness statements,” KPD public information officer Darrell DeBusk said at approximately 7:47 a.m. Prichett lost control of his Honda Civic, “slid several hundred feet before crossing the median and entering the westbound lanes.”

The Civic was struck “in the driver’s side door” by a Nissan Maxima driven by Ashlyn Knight, 21, of Knoxville, DeBusk said, adding that Knight was not injured.

As for the cause, “We believe speed was a factor in this collision on behalf of the Civic based on evidence that was left at the scene, the skids marks, the distance traveled from the first point of skid marks to the actual collision itself,” DeBusk said.

As for driving surface conditions, “It was not wet,” DeBusk said, adding that “everyone was wearing seatbelts.”

Because blood tests results on both drivers are pending through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation — standard procedure based on state law, DeBusk said — the KPD spokesman said the investigation could continue another “twelve to fourteen weeks,” before being forwarded to the Knox County District Attorney’s office for their review.

As for the blood results, “We don’t expect them to come back with anything at all.”

Among his school activities, Encarnacion, junior, was a member of the Webb School varsity baseball team and the robotics team. (For more information, see Obituaries, page 6).


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