Trial in fatal chase reset

Published 7:47 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cook Mugshot

The trial for a North Carolina man charged in a fatal high-speed chase that ended in Roan Mountain has been reset for July 14.

Robert Allan Cook, 23, of Elk Park, N.C., was charged with vehicular homicide, evading arrest by motor vehicle, theft over $10,000, felony reckless endangerment and driving on a suspended license. He appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court Tuesday.

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The court assigned public defender Jim Lonnon to Cook’s case, and the attorney told Judge Keith Bowers Tuesday that they were waiting on the accident reconstruction and toxicology reports.

On May 20, officers of the Avery County, N.C., Sheriff’s Department pursued a reported stolen 2006 Honda Pilot from Avery County into Roan Mountain. Cook was driving the SUV, and a 17-year-old boy was his passenger.

Avery County officers told Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Edward Tester they tried to stop the vehicle but Cook continued to flee.

“Officers from North Carolina continued pursuit of the stolen vehicle into Carter County, where the vehicle drove on the wrong side of the roadway, reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour, crossing the center line at oncoming traffic while still failing to stop for their emergency equipment,” Tester said in warrants for Cook’s arrest.

Cook was driving the SUV on Crabtree Road in Roan Mountain when the crash happened, and while trying to negotiate a curve, he lost control of the vehicle, which went airborne and struck several trees, Tester said.

The 17-year-old passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. Cook was extricated from the vehicle and flown by Wings Air Rescue to a local hospital for treatment.

Cook remains held in the Carter County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond.