ROAN MOUNTAIN — A North Carolina man was pinned underneath the steering wheel of a tractor-trailer for more than two hours Friday night following a one-vehicle accident on Highway 19-E near Herman Johnson Loop.
Stephen Christopher Wells of 90 Mountain Ridge Road, Newland, N.C. was traveling northbound on 19-E in a 2002 Peterbilt tractor-trailer when officers say he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the right side of the road and traveled about 25 feet down an embankment. The tractor-trailer then hit a tree, overturned and landed on its side.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carter County Sheriff’s Department and other emergency responders arrived at the scene just after 8:15 p.m. Friday and crews immediately began trying to extract Wells from the crashed tractor-trailer. Once he was freed, Wells was airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center.
Trooper Greg Marlowe of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said 50-year-old Wells was in critical but stable condition Saturday morning and was undergoing emergency surgeries for compound fractures in his legs and feet.
Following an investigation of the accident, Marlowe said Wells most likely hit a drainage culvert on the side of the road, which broke the front axle of the vehicle. There were no other injuries reported.
Wells was carrying a load of furniture from Newland, N.C. to Washington State at the time of the accident.
Highway 19-E was reduced to one lane until 4 a.m. while the wreck was cleared.