Georgia man dies in National Park wreck

The body of a 24-year-old Georgia man was discovered in an overturned car in Little River early morning on Monday, Feb. 25.

The body of Matthew Johnson, 24, of Toccoa, Ga., was recovered from a submerged vehicle which was discovered in the Little River about 4 miles east of the Townsend Wye in Blount County.

According to a Great Smoky Mountains National Park press release, Johnson was traveling east on the Little River Road and failed to negotiate a right hand curve when he left the pavement on the north side of the road. The car Johnson was driving, a blue Chevrolet Cavalier, plummeted about 25 feet into the swiftly moving waters of Little River.

The car flipped and landed on its roof and was almost fully submerged in the river except for its rear tires. A passing motorist discovered the vehicle in the river around 8 a.m. and reported the accident to Park Rangers. While the exact time of the accident is unknown, it is believed that the accident occurred during the middle of the night.

Divers from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Special Operations and Rescue Team, assisted in a swift water rescue operation. Butler’s Wrecker Service from Walland pulled the vehicle out of the water at around 9:30 a.m. The body was still in the vehicle when rescue personnel arrived. Once the vehicle was roadside, the body was removed and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service transported the victim to Blount Memorial Hospital.

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