ROAN MOUNTAIN — The Carter County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a Boones Creek man, who was involved in a single-vehicle crash near the entrance to Roan Mountain State Park and was found to have a bullet wound in his torso after his death.
“We are treating this as a homicide,” Sheriff Chris Mathes said of the early stages of the investigation into the death of Brady Hughes, 54. He said an autopsy has been ordered.
“We are not ruling out any possibilities,” Mathes said. A small handgun was found in Hughes’ car. “It does not appear that he was a robbery victim.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the sheriff’s department responded to the accident at 4:04 p.m. Friday. Mathes said the car had crashed into a tree. Hughes was alone in the white Honda CRV. The sheriff said the brakes were not used before impact.
“There was no blood found at the scene,” Mathes said. The crash scene was made difficult to examine because Hughes had been hauling bags of quick-setting cement at the time and the bags exploded during the collision, filling the car with powder that began to set because of the rain. Mathes said the Highway Patrol initiated the accident investigation and Brady was still alive when he was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital. He said no one at the scene realized he had been shot because there was no blood at the scene.
“When the gunshot wound was discovered, the Highway Patrol turned the investigation over to us,” Mathes said.
He said investigators have pieced together most of the events of Hughes’ last day except for the last hour and a half.
Mathes said Hughes worked for the post office and had worked the night before, getting off work around noon.
He said although he lived in Boones Creek, his family homestead was in Roan Mountain and he maintained a house in the village.
“We know he arrived in Roan Mountain around 1:45 p.m. and witnesses put him there until about 2:30 p.m. We really would like to speak to anyone who saw him after that time, up to the wreck at 4:04 p.m.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Hughes from 2:30 until 4:04 p.m. Friday is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 542-1845.