Friendsville man killed in wreck

May 7, 2005

by Anna C. Irwin
of The Daily Times Staff

A 38-year-old Friendsville man was killed Friday in a traffic accident on Big Springs Road that sent two other people to the hospital.

Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said Michael Ferguson of Hurtgen Circle died in the 3:30 p.m. crash near Long Powers Road.

According to information provided by the sheriff's office, Ferguson was traveling west on Big Springs Road toward Friendsville in a 2002 Toyota MR2 convertible when he attempted to pass a vehicle in front of him, lost control of his car and skidded sideways into the eastbound lane.

The Ferguson car collided with a 1985 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Aaron J. Carver of Rhodwin Avenue, Maryville, and traveling toward Maryville.

The impact sent the Toyota off the road and down an embankment where it came to rest with Ferguson's body pinned inside.

Carver, 21, and his front seat passenger -- Ashley B. Underwood, 19, of Trigonia Road, Maryville -- were freed from the wreckage of the Camaro and taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to a helicopter landing zone set up at the intersection of South Long Hollow and Big Springs roads. A Lifestar medical evacuation helicopter was unable to land at the accident scene which was directly beneath a primary flight path for aircraft using McGhee Tyson Airport.

Carver and Underwood were flown to University of Tennessee Medical Center by Lifestar and admitted. Carver was listed in critical condition and Underwood was in stable condition Friday evening.

Ferguson was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Blount County Fire Department and Blount County Rescue Squad responded to the scene along with Rural/Metro and the Blount County Sheriff's Office.

The Blount County Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is investigating the accident.

Accident investigators said Ferguson was wearing his seat belt but the two people in the Camaro were not restrained. The airbags in the Toyota did not deploy, apparently due to side impact to the vehicle. The Camaro was not equipped with airbags.

Circumstances of the crash were similar to those in a February 2004 collision at almost the same location that killed a 16-year-old boy. Five people have been killed in traffic accidents on Big Springs Road over the past 10 years.

Ferguson's death is the sixth traffic fatality of the year in Blount County, exactly half the number of fatalities recorded on the same date in 2004. Last year ended with 38 deaths, the highest total found in records beginning in 1961.