Crash claims life of Roan Mountain man; charges pending against other driver

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fatal Crash
A fiery crash over the weekend claimed the life of a Roan Mountain man and left another Carter County man injured and potentially facing charges related to the crash.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol has identified the man who died in the crash late Saturday night as Viencen Hitechew, 47, of Roan Mountain. The THP identified the other driver who was injured in the crash as 33-year-old Jerry Oaks of Elizabethton.
The accident happened around 11:20 p.m. Saturday on State Route 362 — locally known as Mary Patton Highway or “the new Gap Creek Road,” —near the intersection of the highway and Jim Elliott Road according to the THP.
THP Trooper Brad Proffitt is investigating the crash and said preliminary evidence indicates Oaks was driving under the influence at the time of the crash. Proffitt had Oaks sent for testing to determine if any alcohol or drugs were present in his system at the time of the accident.
Oaks, who was driving a 2007 Jeep Commander, was traveling northbound in the southbound lane of Highway 362, Proffitt said in his preliminary report. Oaks’ SUV struck a 2009 Lexus, driven by Hitechew, head-on.
After the two vehicles collided, Proffitt said both vehicles became “fully engulfed in flames.”
Further details on the accident have not been released by the THP at this time, but Proffitt noted that charges in connection with the wreck are pending at this time.

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