Accident at fair results in multiple people injured

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MIKE SMITH

msmith@stategazette.com

On Saturday night, shortly before 9 p.m., an accident at the Dyer County Fair resulted in at least 10 injuries, with two of those injured ultimately airlifted to Regional One in Memphis.

Early reports from the Dyersburg Police Department stated a golf cart belonging to the Dyer County Fair Association, being driven by a fair employee, went in reverse and into a crowd of people.

An eyewitness to the incident, 19-year-old Erica Jernigan of Dyersburg, spoke with the State Gazette on Monday and recalled what she saw during the final hours of the fair on Saturday night. Jernigan’s aunt was reportedly injured during the incident.

“I was there through the whole incident. My aunt and I were in line to get some food and while we were waiting, I saw this golf cart, but it didn’t have a top on it. It was coming backwards so fast, and while I tried to pull my aunt out of the way it was too late, because it had already hit everybody,” explained Jernigan. “I started checking to make sure everybody was OK, but they weren’t. It looked like the lady driving put it in reverse and the gas got stuck or something because it was coming at us really fast.”

According to the DPD, 10 people ages 11-80 were injured during the accident. Nine of those were transported to Tennova Regional Hospital either by ambulance or helicopter, and one was transported by private vehicle.

“There wasn't anything at the scene to indicate this was anything more than an accident,” said Moody.

Moody said on Sunday morning that he had not received any information regarding the status of those injured during the accident.

Following the accident, it was also reported that three juveniles were detained and cited for trespassing at the scene of the accident.

On Monday afternoon, the DPD released the following press release regarding the incident:

“On Saturday, September 9, 2017 at approximately 8:39 p.m., Dyersburg Police responded to a call of numerous persons being injured at the Dyer County Fair. Officers began to assist in crowd control and taping off the scene. Emergency Medical and Dyersburg Fire Rescue were already on scene tending to the injured. Officers were told that a utility golf cart that belonged to the Fair Association was being driven by a Fair employee and had apparently backed into a crowd of people.

The driver of the golf cart was identified as Linda Puete, 71, of 850 Highway 51 Bypass in Dyersburg. Officers were told that a total of 9 victims were transported by ambulance to Tennova Healthcare and an additional victim was taken by private vehicle to the emergency room for treatment. Two of the victims were later airlifted from Tennova Healthcare to Regional One in Memphis for further treatment.

The driver of the golf cart, Linda Puete voluntarily agreed to have a blood sample drawn at the emergency room. Officers then collected the sample and it was entered into evidence.

Officers were approached at the scene by Fair Association employees and advised that three juveniles had been repeatedly asked to leave after crossing into the crime scene barrier taped area where the victims were being attended to by Emergency Medical Personnel. Officers located the three juveniles in question and after they were requested by officers to leave and refused to, they were all detained and placed in handcuffs. The male juvenile was charged with resisting arrest & trespassing and the two female juveniles were charged with trespassing. All three were released and given court dates to appear in Dyer County Juvenile Court on October 04, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.”

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