BY KEN LITTLE
A woman who suffered serious injuries in a two-car crash about 1:10 a.m. last Saturday on U.S. 11E near the intersection with Industrial Road is slowly recuperating.
The other driver was Edward Kershaw, 43, well-known Greeneville lawyer. Kershaw is an announced candidate for District Attorney General in 2014 in the Third Judicial District.
Kershaw was uninjured, according to a report by Greeneville police Officer Tina Janeway.
No charges were filed in connection with the Aug. 3 crash.
TRANSPORTED TO JCMC
Joyce M. Shelton, 39, of Mohawk Ridge Road, was driving a 2006 Nissan sedan that was struck at the intersection by a 2005 Ford Mustang driven by Kershaw, according to the report.
Shelton had to be freed from the car and was taken by Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services to Johnson City Medical Center by ambulance.
In a telephone interview Friday with The Greeneville Sun, Shelton said she suffered a broken pelvis in the wreck and is currently rehabilitating at Takoma Regional Hospital.
There were two passengers in Shelton's car.
Shaina M. Madison, 18, of Mohawk Ridge Road, Bulls Gap, suffered possible injuries and was taken by Greene County-Greeneville EMS to Laughlin Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and later released. Madison is Shelton's daughter.
Samantha J. Amos, 19, of Valley Dale Road, Mosheim, also suffered possible injuries and was taken by EMS to Laughlin Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released.
The accident narrative filed by Janeway in her report said that Shelton was westbound on U.S/11E, heading toward Mosheim, and was passing through the intersection with Industrial Road.
Kershaw was eastbound on 11E approaching a traffic light at the intersection, the report said.
Shelton told officers that the light at the intersection was green as she was passing through it.
Kershaw told officers that he was making a U-turn at the light "and stated he had a green arrow to make (a) turn," the report said.
The Mustang driven by Kershaw struck Shelton's car in the front on the driver's side, causing heavy damage to both cars.
The presence of alcohol or drugs was not observed in either driver, Janeway's report said, and tests for those substances were not given.
In the telephone interview Friday, Shelton said that she was coming from Johnson City after having dinner and shopping with her daughter and her daughter's friend.
Shelton said she had to be freed from the car by rescue personnel.
"They had to cut me out with the Jaws of Life," she said. "It's going to be a long recovery. I can't walk."
Kershaw said Friday in a telephone interview that he was unhurt in the crash.
"I was going to get gas and made a U-turn and had a protected left arrow, and that's it," he said. "I had a protected arrow, and it's unfortunate, and I hope everything is OK."
Both drivers maintain that they had the right-of-way.
Other than the passengers in Shelton's car, there were no independent witnesses at the scene to provide additional information to Greeneville police officers responding to the report.
"There was nobody that witnessed the accident other than the people in it," Janeway said Friday in an interview.
Janeway said she observed no indication on the part of either driver of alcohol or drug use, and therefore no tests were given. That is standard policy under such circumstances, she said.
Janeway said she investigated the accident the same way she would handle any vehicle collision.
Police Chief Terry Cannon wasn't at the crash scene, but said in an interview that he is familiar with the accident.
"To my understanding, they both claimed they had a green light," Cannon said. "That's one of those deals where its hard to write a ticket if both drivers say they're right."
The two witnesses in Shelton's car likely share her point of view about who is responsible for the accident, Cannon said.
"It's sort of a situation where there is no independent witness," Cannon said.
ACTION OF OFFICERS
If there was evidence at the crash scene to indicate an illegal action by either driver, officers would have filed charges as they would in any similar situation, Cannon said.
"The officers worked their accident based on what they had, and that's the way they work any other accident," Cannon said. "If (drivers) are suspected of any wrongdoing or any law being violated, then (officers) would act accordingly. They would press charges."
Shelton is a long-time employee of the Walmart Distribution Center.
In addition to his private law practice, Kershaw is also the chairman of the Greeneville Civil Service Board, and attorney for the Greeneville Housing Authority and the Town of Mosheim.
LEARNED OF ACCIDENT THURSDAY
The Greeneville Sun learned of the accident on Thursday afternoon, in a telephone call from Joyce Shelton, the injured driver.
After learning of the accident, the Sun requested a printed copy of the Police Department accident report that afternoon, and the report was promptly provided.
In the case of local accidents investigated by the Greeneville Police Department in which there is no fatality and where there are no charges, it is not standard departmental procedure to print out a copy of the accident report unless requested to do so.
The reports are filed at the Police Department electronically by the investigating officer, then forwarded to the Tennessee Department of Safety in Nashville, Chief Cannon explained Friday.
After being approved by the Department of Safety, the reports are sent back to the local Police Department by computer, where they remain in the local department's electronic filing system.
The electronic accident report files cannot at present be accessed by anyone except department personnel.
Chief Cannon has explained, however, that changes in the department's filing system computer software are being made that will permit easier access by others, such as news media representatives.
In this case, since the accident occurred about 1 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Cannon speculated that the Department of Safety approved the local accident report on Monday morning, Aug. 5, approved it, and returned it to Greeneville electronically.
Since the newspaper did not know of the accident early in the week, however, the Sun reporter covering Police Department activity over the weekend did not request a report until the newspaper was notified about the crash on Thursday.