Two ejected in crash after striking pole

By | October 27, 2006 12:00 am

Jody Sliger
Richard Donnie Anderson, 21, of Sparta, escaped serious injuries, but is facing several criminal charges after crashing the vehicle he was driving Friday night.
A passenger in Anderson’s vehicle only suffered minor injuries as well, but volunteers spent time searching for additional victims in crash, only to discover the driver gave false information to law enforcement officials.
Because of false information given to law enforcement by Anderson, volunteers combed the area during the cold Oct. 20 night for about an hour looking for two additional passengers.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., Anderson was traveling west on Highway 70 in a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse, according to witnesses, at an extremely high rate of speed.
According to Trooper Mike Jolley, of Tennessee Highway Patrol, as Anderson approached the junction of Corinth Road, he lost control of the vehicle, ran off the roadway on the right side, then went down an embankment. The Eclipse continued forward motion and came back up the embankment, traveling over Corinth Road and striking two signs, knocking them down before ramming into a Caney Fork utility pole with enough force to sever it at the ground level and breaking it into two pieces.
After the car hit the pole, the vehicle began to roll down the high embankment, flipping several times, ejecting Anderson and his passenger, Keith E. Tuck Jr., 17, of Sparta, before coming to a final rest on the side of the highway.
“When I arrived at the scene, I was informed the driver and one passenger had been located, but two other passengers could not be found,” said Jolley. “Around 50 volunteers and rescue workers were searching for the missing two.”
Sparta-White County Rescue Squad, Cassville volunteer firefighters, White County Emergency Medical Services personnel and community volunteers were combing the area looking for the other passengers who might have been injured in the crash.
Jolley said he spoke with Anderson as the driver was waiting in the ambulance and confirmed the names of the two missing passengers as the search in the continued.
“While talking to the passenger in a second ambulance, going over the details, he told me he and Anderson were the only occupants of the vehicle,” said Jolley. “So, I went back and asked Anderson again. ‘How many people were in the vehicle?’ He then told me, ‘two.’”
According to Jolley, when asked why he told them otherwise, Anderson just shrugged his shoulders and answered, “I don’t know.”
Anderson advised Jolley the pair had been smoking marijuana before the crash.
To ensure their safety and confirm the other two possible passengers were not in the vehicle, contact was made by telephone with both subjects before the search was called off.
Tuck was transported to White County Community Hospital emergency room where he was treated and released. The vehicle belongs to Tuck’s mother.
Anderson refused medical treatment and was transported to White County Justice Center where he was booked in and charged with filing a false report, driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and issued citations for failure to exercise due care when operating a vehicle, improper passing, violation of seat belt law, and failure to provide proof of insurance. He was released on $6,000 bond.
Anderson will be in court Oct. 27, 2006, for his initial appearance.

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