White County family and friends grieved over the Thanksgiving holiday after a woman from the Sparta area died in a near head-on collision between Crossville and Pleasant Hill Wednesday night.
The woman was identified as Starla Colwell, 34, who was dead at the crash scene. She was driving a 1999 Ford Explorer.
Seriously injured in the crash was Lindsay Surach, 24, from Crossville. She was the driver of a 2005 Ford Escape. Surach was airlifted from the crash scene to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga where she remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit, facing several surgeries.
A passenger in Cowell’s vehicle, identified as Christopher Phillips, 31, of Sparta, was taken by ambulance to Cumberland Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
The crash took place on Hwy. 70 W., west of the Claysville Rd. intersection, around 8:35 p.m. Wednesday.
Trooper Bobby Barker wrote in his report that Surach was traveling toward Crossville when her vehicle crossed over the center line and struck the Colwell vehicle head-on. The impact sent the Ford Escape rolling over, coming to a rest on an embankment on the south side of the road. Colwell’s vehicle traveled down an embankment, coming to stop against a fence on the north side of the road. The vehicles ended up several yards apart from each other.
Occupants of both vehicles had to be extricated from their vehicles by the Cumberland County Fire and Rescue Department, according to Barker. The road was closed to traffic for several hours during the extrication, landing of the helicopter and investigation by THP.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted in the road shutdown along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Members of THP’s Critical Incident Response Team and Criminal Investigative Division are involved in the investigation, investigating at least one witness. Blood alcohol drug tests were requested from the drivers.
All involved were wearing seat belts, according to the report.
Once THP’s investigation is completed, a meeting will be held between investigators and the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office at which time a decision will be made on whether charges, if any, will be provided.
If the case proceeds, THP and the DA’s office have the option of filing warrants or presenting evidence to the grand jury.