Deputy Jonathan Simerly of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department spoke with shooting victim Michael Thomas Lyons, 28, while he was being treated for injuries to his arm and leg. Simerly said Lyons told him he was fishing with Josh Hayworth and he tried to place his cell phone in a safe, dry place because they were approaching some rapids.
The pistol was in a bag and accidentally discharged, with the bullet going through Lyons arm and penetrating the leg. He said he did not know what caused the gun to go off. Lyons said he and Hayworth both jumped in the boat, knocking both his and Hayworth’s phones and his pistol into the river. They rushed to the nearest dock and then flagged down a motorist, who took them to the home of Lyons’ brother in Watauga.
Lyons said his brother rushed him to the emergency room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital. While he was being treated, his brother and Hayworth returned to the river to retrieve the boat and the items they had left at the dock and in the river.