Update: Camera to help in probe of fatal motorcycle crash

Becky Campbell • May 24, 2012 at 9:50 PM

An intersection camera will help traffic investigators determine how a fatal crash between a pick-up and motorcycle happened late Wednesday on West State of Franklin, according to a Johnson City police supervisor.

The wreck happened around 10:20 p.m. at the intersection of West State of Franklin and West Walnut Street.

Burrell ‘Gene’ Mitchell, 39, 111 Foster Ct., Johnson City was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was driving a 1993 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and carrying a passenger, Jennifer M. Newman, 29, of the same address.

Mitchell was headed south on State of Franklin as he approached the intersection of Walnut, a 2001 Ford F150 traveling north “suddenly made a left turn into the path of the motorcycle,” Johnson City Police Lt. Larry Williams wrote in the wreck report.

Another motorcyclist traveling with Mitchell was able to avoid the truck, but Mitchell could not.

The driver of the pick-up, 19-year-old Seth Green, of Bluff City, told police that he stopped at the traffic light behind another vehicle and the light was a green ball, but then turned to a green arrow.

“The traffic light sequence at this intersection does not turn from a green ball to a green arrow,” Williams said.

That intersection is equipped with a red-light camera designed to photograph motorists who run a red light. It will help investigators in this case determine exactly how the crash occurred.

Toxicology results are still pending in the crash, but the police report indicated that Mitchell had been drinking, and witnesses told police the motorcycle was speeding when he hit the truck that turned in front of him.

Burrell was wearing a helmet, but it was a type not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to police. Newman was wearing a DOT-approved full-face helmet.

She was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center and reportedly treated for a fractured wrist.

A passenger in Green’s truck, Kaliegh A. Hall, 18, of Piney Flats, was also transported for a possible injury. A second passenger in the truck, Thomas Roark, 20, of Johnson City, was not injured.

The crash is still under investigation and charges are pending.

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