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Originally published: 2013-09-26 18:00:33
Last modified: 2013-09-27 12:33:10

Deadly wreck occurs on U.S. 421

One person is dead and two others were hospitalized after a two-vehicle collision on U.S. 421 east of Boone on Thursday afternoon.

The wreck occurred around 4:50 p.m. Thursday as a maroon 2012 Toyota Highlander was traveling south on U.S. 421 near Pine Run Road, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

The Toyota, driven by 79-year-old Margaret Stechman of Boone, crossed over the grass median and hit a blue 2007 Jeep Patriot head-on, according to the Highway Patrol. It then struck a guardrail and flipped over it, rolling several times.

The front passenger in the Jeep, 61-year-old Ricardo Tscherpel, died at the scene, according to troopers.

The driver of the Jeep, 63-year-old Steven Havner of Boone, was flown from the scene to Johnson City Medical Center by Wings Air Rescue, according to the Highway Patrol. Havner was in stable condition as of 12:30 p.m. Friday, according to hospital communications manager Teresa Hicks.

Stechman was taken to Watauga Medical Center and later transferred to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, the Highway Patrol reported. She was in "good" condition as of 11 a.m. Friday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Trooper Randall Townsend is continuing to investigate the wreck, and no charges have been filed.

The collision closed all lanes of the highway from U.S. 421 at Food Lion/Old U.S. 421 to Brownwood Road in Deep Gap, according to Deep Gap Fire Chief Darren Church.

Agencies that responded to the scene included the Deep Gap Fire Department, Watauga Rescue Squad, Boone Fire Department, Stewart Simmons Fire Department, the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and the N.C. Highway Patrol.