BY KEN LITTLE
An Afton man was charged with reckless endangerment and other offenses following a three-vehicle wreck that injured seven people about 6:15 p.m. Friday on East Andrew Johnson Highway.
Wesley C. Tipton, 42, of 351 Union Chapel Road, was also charged with being an habitual offender and leaving the scene of an accident.
Sheriff's deputy Randy Christy said in a report that Tipton was westbound in the 6900 block of East Andrew Johnson Highway and attempted to drive through a traffic crossover in front of the Stop & Go Market without braking.
His car was struck by a van driven by Walter T. Phillips Jr., 53, of 310 Roaming Drive, Chuckey.
The report said a sport utility vehicle behind Phillips' van, driven by 25-year-old Katie L. Nelson, 2950 Kingsport Highway, attempted to avoid the van and went across the median into a drainage ditch.
A passenger in Tipton's car, 44-year-old Pam Bowman, of Chuckey, was trapped in the vehicle and was flown by medical helicopter to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. She was not listed as a patient today, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Another passenger in Tipton's car, 23-year-old Roger Gunter, of Chuckey, was treated at Laughlin Memorial Hospital's emergency room.
Walter Phillips, the driver of the van, was also treated at Laughlin, along with passenger Mary Phillips, 41.
Others treated at Laughlin included Nelson, driver of the sport utility vehicle, and three passengers in the SUV: Sonya Testerman, 45, of Clear Springs Road, Limestone; Kaylee Nelson, 9, of Kingsport Highway; and Timmy Champe, 4, of Kingsport Highway.
A witness to the crash told deputies that Tipton never stopped before driving across the roadway.
The report said that after the crash, Tipton got out of his car to check on a passenger and fled on foot.
In addition to reckless endangerment, Tipton was charged with leaving the scene of a traffic accident involving serious bodily injury or death, and two counts of violation of the habitual motor vehicle offender act.
Bond for Tipton was set at $34,500. He was scheduled to appear Wednesday in General Sessions Court.