SUV Goes Over Embankment on Big Rock Road

May 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Click image to enlarge.

Four people were injured Monday afternoon around 4:45 p.m. when the 1997 Ford Explorer they were in went off Big Rock Road and over a steep embankment.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 43 year old David Spencer Vaughn of 714 South College Street was driving north in the Ford Explorer, going too fast, and failed to properly negotiate a curve. The SUV went off the road to the left, but Vaughn overcorrected, causing the vehicle to go back across the road and overturn. The SUV went off the right side of the road and rolled approximately 150 to 200 feet down an embankment, before coming to rest upright on it's wheels in the hollow below.

42 year old Michelle Paiva-Nunez, her 14 year old son, Keith Clifford Lafreniere II, and 43 year old Ellis Dywane Mullins, all of 715 Long Street, were passengers of the Ford Explorer.

According to Trooper Jennings, Vaughn, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected as the SUV began to overturn. The passengers were restrained.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Extrication Team and DeKalb County Rescue Squad were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS.

Firefighters had to pry open one of the doors to the vehicle to get to Paiva-Nunez, who was trapped.

Because of the steep climb back up the hill to the road, a basket and rope were used to carry Paiva-Nunez. The other two, Mullins and Lafreniere, apparently made it back up under their own power.

All except Vaughn were transported from the scene by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Vaughn initially refused treatment and was taken to the DeKalb County Jail, where he was charged with driving under the influence, felony reckless endangerment, violation of the implied consent law, not wearing a seatbelt, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $12,500. Vaughn was later released and taken to a Nashville hospital for treatment, after complaining of pains.

The crash was investigated by Troopers Dewaine Jennings and Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Meanwhile, a 24 year old man was injured in another wreck Monday night around 9:45 p.m. at a different location on Big Rock Road.

Trooper Todd Logan of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Brandon Taylor of Smithville was driving a 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup truck south when he went off the road.

According to Trooper Logan, Taylor claims he was blinded by the bright lights from an oncoming vehicle as he came around a curve, causing him to go off the road and some 20 feet off an embankment.

Taylor was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

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