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Dropped Cell Phone Causes Teen To Wreck On Blue Ridge Parkway

12:52 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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Asheville, NC -- An Asheville teen remains in critical condition following a wreck on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Wednesday that investigators attribute to a dropped cell phone.

Michael Smith, 19, is in critical condition at Mission Hospital following the accident Monday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Smith was a passenger in a vehicle that plunged about 150 feet down a steep slope on the parkway near Pisgah Inn, southwest of Asheville, parkway supervisory ranger Don Coleman said.

The driver, Joshua Owenby, 18, was treated for minor injuries.

The teens, employees at Pisgah Inn, had just gotten off work and were heading down the mountain toward Asheville when the wreck happened about a mile north of the inn, Coleman said.

The accident happened after Owenby dropped his cell phone on the floor of the vehicle, Coleman said.

"He reached down to retrieve it, and when he did he lost control," Coleman said.

Both boys were ejected from the car as it plunged down the slope, winding up on its top among some boulders. Neither teen was wearing a seatbelt, Coleman said.

He said Owenby "was able to crawl up the embankment and flag down a passing vehicle." After rescuers brought Smith up the slope, he was flown by medical helicopter to Mission Hospital.

No charges have been filed, but Coleman said the accident is still under investigation.

Pisgah Inn owner Bruce O'Connell said the wreck was a shock to the staff.

"They are just both good kids," O'Connell said. "It's a terrible accident and terrible lesson. It just tells you to respect the road and that cell phones are dangerous when driving."

Written by:  Sabian Warren

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