Police spotted 43-year-old Robert Akers of Bristol, Tenn., speeding across railroad tracks on State Street around 1 a.m. Sunday. He was going so fast that when he turned right onto Martin Luther King Boulevard, the Corvette ran up onto a concrete median and onto the wrong side of the road.
The wild ride continued through two left turns onto Cumberland Avenue and Lee Street before coming to a dramatic conclusion on Shelby Street at Shelby Towers, where Akers first hit an electric transformer box, knocking out power to 45 customers until 6 a.m. The Corvette then went airborne and landed on five parked cars, continued a little further, and then crashed on top of two more parked cars.
In the aftermath, Akers had to be cut out of his Corvette and is in critical condition at Wellmont Health. His passenger, Rebecca Fields, 26, of Bristol was thrown from the car but is in good condition.
Bristol is a twin city on the Tennessee/Virginia line, and the chase went through the two states, meaning Akers will face charges from both.
One of the owners of the crushed vehicles was Charles Brown, who said he had made just two payments on his newly purchased van.
“I just thought it was a mess. I mean those other vehicles, didn’t help them none either. I just thought it was a big mess out here,” Brown told News 5 reporter Kristi O’Connor. “Well, I just don’t know really. It’s just a bad scene out here.”
Bristol, Va., Police Captain Maynard Ratcliff said police don’t know how fast Akers was going, but added that by the time his officer followed the Corvette at the intersection of Cumberland Avenue and Lee Street, it was already across the Tennessee state line near Shelby Street.
“What I saw on the video shows, you can see the tail lights and a large flash of light,” Capt. Ratcliff said. “That’s apparently when the car struck the transformer.”
Fortunately, no innocent bystanders at the crash scene were hurt.
“It was very fortunate that no one was traveling or walking on State Street when he crossed there,” Capt. Ratcliff said. “Very fortunate that no one was in that parking lot where he ended up landing.”
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