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1 killed, 4 injured when tree falls on van carrying Sevierville employees

The vehicle was heading back to Sevierville from a trip to Townsend. The woman who died was a Sevier County teacher.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Tennessee Highway Patrol and the city of Sevierville have confirmed one person was killed Thursday when a tree fell on a van carrying city of Sevierville public works employees on Wears Valley Road.

Sevierville spokesman Bob Stahlke said the person who died was Brooke Sampson, the wife of employee Michael Sampson, who also was on the van.

Brooke Sampson was pronounced dead at Blount Memorial Hospital.

Four people also suffered injuries, according to THP spokesperson Sgt. Randall Martin. 

Stahlke identified them as city employees Bob Moncrief, Nathan Raulston, Joseph Dodgen and Eldon Denney. 

Denney and Dodgen were treated and released from Blount Memorial Hospital around 5:30 p.m. Moncrief's and Raulston's statuses are unknown. 

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A total of seven people were in the van, according to Stahlke, including six city employees.

Credit: Submitted
One person was killed when a tree fell on a van belonging to the City of Sevierville on Wears Valley Road.

"Brooke had worked part-time for the Public Works Department in the past and was a full-time teacher with Sevier County Schools," according to Stahlke.

Sampson was a 4th grade teacher at Sevierville Intermediate School since 2012, according to Debra Cline, Assistant Superintendent for Sevier Co. Schools. Before that, she taught 5th grad at Seymour Intermediate.

Credit: Sevier Co. Schools

"Our hearts are broken," Cline said.

She said Sampson had a love for children and a passion for education and would be greatly missed.

The van was traveling from Townsend to Sevierville after an American Public Works Association meeting in the Townsend area.

Martin said the van was a city-owned van. It suffered heavy damage when it was struck by the tree.

Some of the employees had to be extricated from the wreck.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene including the Blount County Sheriff's Office.

Credit: Submitted
One person was killed when a tree fell on a van belonging to the City of Sevierville on Wears Valley Road.
Credit: Greg Buchanan
A tree fell on a van on Wears Valley Road Thursday, killing one woman and injuring four others.

High rainfall in January and February has saturated the region's ground, loosening the soil, according to TVA. Some mudslides have been reported in the area.

"The city of Sevierville family asks that your thoughts and prayers be with Michael Sampson and his family, and the families of the injured employees. We respectfully ask for your understanding as we grieve as a City family during this difficult time," Stahlke's statement reads.

Wears Valley Road, shut down while crews worked at the crash, was reopened by about 3 p.m.

Original story

Emergency crews are responding to a bus accident on Wears Valley Road in Blount County, authorities said.

Deputy Chief Jarrod MIllsaps with the Blount Co. Sheiff's Office confirmed to 10News that some of the passengers on the bus were injured and are being transported to local hospitals.

Right now, Wears Valley Road near Heaven Lane is closed because of the accident.