By Max Hrenda
A Johnson County man told officers he lost control of his car and crashed into a utility pole after trying to put ketchup on a hot dog, but officers who responded to the late Monday afternoon accident along Elizabethton’s West Elk Avenue said there was more to the story than a condiment mishap.
Jason David Fenner, 38, 732 Rainbow Road, Mountain City, was arrested by the Elizabethton Police Department after his car snapped a utility pole that crashed atop his car and temporarily blocked both lanes of traffic across from the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.
Witnesses told Elizabethton Police Department officers that Fenner was traveling in an eastern direction down West Elk Avenue in the left lane when he drifted into the right lane and eventually onto the curb, where the car struck and broke the utility pole near its base.
Even though the pole slammed into the top of Fenner’s vehicle, when authorities arrived the man appeared to be unharmed.
According to EPD Patrol Officer Douglas Combs, who would go on to make the arrest, Fenner’s condition quickly changed, however, after he exited the vehicle.
“Whenever I was able to talk to him, he said that he was putting ketchup on a hot dog, and it caused him to wreck,” Combs said. “At first contact with him, he didn’t seem as impaired. He just progressively became more impaired the more we dealt with him.”