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November 9, 2004

School for the Deaf student, 16, dies of injuries

From: Knoxville News Sentinel, TN - Nov 9, 2004

By News Sentinel staff
November 9, 2004

A 16-year-old girl injured when the Tennessee School for the Deaf van carrying her and five others crashed in South Knoxville died this morning at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Viola Wooten, a Pikeville, Tenn., native, was a passenger in the 1998 GMC Safari van that crashed shortly after 5 p.m. Monday. She died of her injuries today, authorities said.

The single-vehicle crash occurred as the southbound van went out of control after crossing railroad tracks on Island Home Pike near the intersection with McClure Lane.

Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said van driver Valerie Raley was distracted for an instant and then overcorrected her steering, causing the van to fly out of control and into a utility pole. Raley, 24, of Knoxville, was treated and released from the UT Medical Center.

Harriett Simpson, 24, who was in the front seat of the van, was listed today in serious condition at the UT Medical Center.

Two students in the van, Albani Matthews, 15, and Brittany Jones, 16, were treated and released from the UT Medical Center. A third student, Aneshia Flint, 17, apparently was not treated after the crash.

DeBusk said all the occupants of the van were using seat belts when the crash occurred. The Police Department continues to investigate the wreck.

Copyright 2004, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.