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Highway crash results in DUI
Sparta Hwy wreck3.jpg
The driver of this Toyota 4Runner escaped injury after a two-vehicle collision Monday but was charged with DUI. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

A two-vehicle collision on Sparta Highway stalled traffic and gave rise to two citations, including driving under the influence.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Highway 70 and Starlight Road at 2:10 p.m. Monday. According to state trooper Joseph VanBommel, Patricia Gaither, 84, was attempting to make a right turn onto the highway and entered the path of inbound motorist Tiffanie Ashworth, 35.

“The Toyota 4Runner was traveling westbound on Highway 70,” said VanBommel of the vehicle driven by Ashworth. “The Cadillac Escalade was at the intersection of Starlight Road. The driver of the Cadillac, was going to turn onto 70 to go westbound. She failed to yield the right of way and the two vehicles collided at the intersection.”

The impact forced the Escalade off the right shoulder of the road, down an embankment and into a ditch. The 4Runner continued down the highway, spun and traveled backwards. It came to rest in a drainage ditch at the entrance of Sparta Road Veterinary Clinic.

When asked about what appeared to be an unusual distance traveled by the 4Runner, VanBommel stated, “I found no evidence of braking. She said she hit the brakes, but I think she accelerated instead.”

Ashworth was cited for driving under the influence, while Gaither was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

Neither driver reported injuries.