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Teen escapes injury in crash

Though the top half cabin of Carrie Rowland’s Toyota Forerunner was partially crushed after being hit and flipped “several times” landing on its top during a three-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 2, the 16-year-old credited seat-belt usage for leaving her relatively unscathed.

“The reason is, like, because I had my seat-belt on, that’s why I’m alive,” said Rowland, a Farragut High School junior, a few minutes after the accident — in which no one was seriously hurt or required on-site medical assistance — on Kingston Pike in front of the Phillips 66 convenience store near the Campbell Station Road intersection.

“I was really scared, and soon as I hit, my vehicle began to flip, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, is this really happening?’” Rowland added. “When it stopped flipping … I was never knocked unconscious … I was like, ‘I’m lucky to be alive.’ It flipped several times.”

Rowland said she was helped out of her upside-down vehicle by “friends of the person I hit,” adding it took “not even two of three minutes” after the vehicles came to a stop.

Rowland, who had no passengers, was driving west on Kingston Pike in the right turn lane when a green Chevrolet Venture van “cut in front of the purple S-U-V [Forerunner], flipped ’em, and she clipped into the back of their vehicle [pointing to a 2005 white Hyundai Santa Fe],” said Trooper Marty Nix of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “The little girl [Rowland] was shaken quite a bit.”

Nix said the driver of the Venture, Jose Lopez, 121 West Hunter’s Circle, Oak Ridge, has been charged with “failure to yield the right-of-way, no driver’s license, no insurance.”

Lopez and passengers in the Venture he was driving were unavailable for comment.

The driver of the Hyundai, Christine Coleman of Village Green, was headed west on Kingston Pike. “I don’t know what happened, we were just sitting there [for a traffic light change], all of a sudden it was ‘bam,’ and we saw that vehicle [Forerunner] in the front end,” she said. “We were just in shock.”

Coleman’s daughter, Denise Farner, 42, Farragut, was a passenger in the Hyundai.

Nix said all parties involved advised him they were wearing seatbelts.

Rowland said her driver’s side airbag did not deploy upon impact.


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