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Police: Driver may have been going nearly 75-mph before crashing on State Street

By Laura Halm
Published On: Feb 16 2013 05:24:15 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2013 06:06:45 PM CST

Police: Driver may have been going nearly 75 mph before crashing on State Street

BRISTOL, Va. -

What started as a call about an erratic driver, ends in a fiery crash on State Street in downtown Bristol. Police continue to look for answers after the deadly crash.

A sea of flashing lights, surrounding a car accident on State Street Friday night. A crash that killed the driver of a red Oldsmobile, 43-year-old William Marcella.

Bristol Virginia Police say he was driving on the Tennessee side of State Street heading toward the Bristol sign. "We believe he may have seen cars stopped at the red light at State Street, Moore Street, and Sixth Street intersection and I think when he saw those cars, he attempted to go around those vehicles," said Sergeant Steven Crawford with Bristol Virginia Police.

That's when investigators say the driver lost control and hit two parked cars. Sergeant Crawford estimates Marcella was going about 75-mph and it's likely the initial impact may have been what killed Marcella. "It was just a head-on and just a tremendous amount of damage," added Sergeant Crawford.

A man sitting inside one of the parked cars was hurt and taken to the hospital. Now investigators are piecing together the crash to figure out what exactly happened. "There's no doubt we believe alcohol was a factor in this, the evidence we found in the vehicle," said Sergeant Crawford.

This crash was a shocking sight for employees at KP Duty. "[The Oldsmobile] looked like a ball of fire, almost compared it to a comet just flying through the streets and everyone just fearing for their life. It just stopped right in front of the restaurant," said employee Happy Vance.

Others say they're surprised this crash didn't cause more damage with so much traffic on a Friday night. "I was just concerned about the bystanders and pedestrians. I think we were lucky that nobody else got hurt," said employee Blake Sallie.

A toxicology report is being done by the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke, Virginia.

Police say earlier in the night there was a call to 911 about a car driving erratically on West State Street, police say that caller gave a similar description to the car involved in the crash.

The crash still remains under investigation.