Man hurt when truck ends up in river

Published 10:56 am Thursday, March 19, 2015

One man was injured after his truck ended up in the Watauga River. The driver told police he had been run off the road by another car.

Emergency crews responded to the area of 268 Wilbur Dam Road at around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday to find a gray Ford F-150 partially submerged in the river after traveling down a steep bank.

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The driver, Robert Mathes of Elizabethton, had escaped the car before the police arrived.

The Carter County Rescue Squad transported Mathes to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

According to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and a witness who assisted Mathes at the scene, Mathes said he had been forced off the road by another driver who drifted into his lane.

“He said another car came over his way and ran him off the road,” CCSD Deputy Brian Smithpeters said.

Mathes reportedly shared the same story with Rachel Ritter, who lives at the home across from the accident site.

Ritter helped Mathes until the rescue squad arrived on the scene.

“I didn’t see the crash when it happened,” Ritter said. “I noticed the telephone pole shaking and came outside to see what had happened. I saw a man standing in the road, and his pants were wet up to his thighs. He said he had been run off the road by a driver that was looking down at their lap and that his truck was in the river.”

There were no witnesses to the crash, Smithpeters said. No charges are expected to be filed in the accident and no description was available for the other car.

Members of the CCRS and the Hampton/Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department secured the truck at the riverside until it could be removed from the bank.