County man indicted in 2015 wreck that injured 3

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Star File Photo This two-vehicle accident in September 2015 sent three people to the hospital and shut down most of West Elk Avenue. The driver of the blue car, Zachary Michalski, shown in inset photo, was ruled at fault and has now been indicted on two felony charges in connection with the crash.

Star File Photo
This two-vehicle accident in September 2015 sent three people to the hospital and shut down most of West Elk Avenue. The driver of the blue car, Zachary Michalski, shown in inset photo, was ruled at fault and has now been indicted on two felony charges in connection with the crash.


An Carter County man faces two felony charges after a Carter County grand jury indicted him in connection with a September 2015 wreck that injured the man and two other people.
Carter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Hughes arrested Zachary Michalski, 23, 219 Taylor Ave., Elizabethton, Monday evening on the indictment charging him with two counts of reckless aggravated assault. Michalski was booked into the Carter County Detention Center, where he remains held on a $5,000 bond.
The indictment alleges Michalski “did commit the offense of aggravated assault by recklessly causing serious bodily injury” to Irene Vines and Shirley Carver in a motor vehicle crash. Under state law, reckless aggravated assault is classified as a “Class D” felony.
The charges against Michalski stem from a two-vehicle crash that happened on Sept. 12, 2015 at around 12:45 p.m. on West Elk Avenue in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post and Cline-Holder Electric.
Witnesses told police a blue Ford Focus travelling west on the busy city road crossed over the center line and struck an east-bound Ford Windstar mini-van. Police identified Michalski as the driver of the Focus. Vines was driving the Windstar and Carver was a passenger in the mini-van.
Both Michalski and Vines had to be extricated from the vehicles. Michalski, Vines and Carver were all taken to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment, with both Vines and Michalski being admitted to the hospital for extended care while Carver was treated and released from the emergency room.
At the time of the accident, Elizabethton Police Department Cpl. Doug Combs, who investigated the crash, said impairment on the part of Michalski may have been a contributing factor to the crash.
While Combs was investigating the crash, he said he found a can of Ultra Duster, a brand of canned duster air, lying in the road next to Michalski’s car.
“The can was almost empty and was cold to the touch,” Combs said.
Due to the discovery of the can of air duster and the seriousness of the injuries, Combs said he asked Michalski to submit to a blood test while he was at the hospital being treated and Michalski agreed to submit a blood sample for the test. No information is available at this time as to the results of that blood test.
“When asked, Mr. Michalski admitted to consuming air duster prior to the collision,” Combs said.
Combs spoke to Michalski and Vines regarding what they remembered of the crash.
Vines told Combs she saw the Ford Focus cross over the turning lane and into her lane of travel but she could not avoid the collision due to other vehicles being around her. Michalski told Combs he remembered driving west on West Elk Avenue but he did not remember the accident.