|By David Hedges, Publisher|
A Walton man died shortly after his ATV hit a guardrail in the early morning hours Sunday.
David Lee Clark, 38, of 62 Lynch Ridge Road was pronounced dead around 4 a.m. as rescue workers were preparing to load him onto a helicopter at Walton.
Deputy Mike King of the Roane Sheriff's Dept. came upon the accident scene just before 2:30 a.m., when he saw a Kawasaki ATV sitting against the guardrail on U.S. 119, about ¾-mile south of McKowns Creek Road.
There was no one around the ATV, which was still running. King looked over the embankment and saw Clark about 50-60 feet below, facedown on a large rock.
King climbed down to reach Clark, who was unconscious but still breathing. Members of the Walton Volunteer Fire Dept. managed to lift Clark to the road, where he was placed in an ambulance and transported to the helicopter landing site at the former Penny's car wash location.
Helicopter and ambulance crews were working on Clark when he died in the back of the ambulance at the landing site, King said.
Authorities are not sure exactly when the accident occurred, King said. The deputy came across the accident around the same time as a 911 call came into the Roane Telecommunications Center.
"They believe he had been there for a little while, but nobody knows for how long," King said.
King said when Clark hit the guardrail, he was thrown over the embankment.
"He never touched his brakes," King said. "He just went straight into the guardrail."
King said Clark had been drinking, based on statements from persons who had been with him earlier and beer found at the accident scene.
"The smell of alcohol was all over him," the deputy said.
There are no known witnesses to the accident. King said Clark was pronounced dead at 4:20 a.m.