FLEETWOOD-An Ashe County Transportation Authority driver was killed in a single vehicle crash on Idlewild Road on Dec. 10.
John Wayne Brittain, 59, was traveling west on Idlewild Road near Hewed Log Gap when he traveled left of center in a white ACTA van, went off the road to the left, collided with a bank and overturned, according to North Carolina State Trooper WP Miller. The minivan landed on its roof.
The accident, which shut down Idlewild for hours, occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Brittain was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Miller.
A passenger riding with Brittain, Steven Phillips, 36, was transported to Watauga Medical Center and treated for minor injuries, Miller said.
Miller said speed didn’t play a factor in the incident.
In addition to the Highway Patrol, the Ashe County Rescue Squad and Fleetwood and Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the call.
Sue Thompson, Director of the Ashe County Transportation Authority, said Brittain had been a driver with the agency since 2007.
“John was a great guy, a likable person and so very friendly to everyone,” Thompson said. “He was a stickler for a clean vehicle and took a lot of pride in the way he maintained the vans.”
Thompson, who arrived on scene with other ACTA leaders shortly after the crash that killed Brittain, said the agency is now waiting on further details from crash investigators as to the cause of the accident.
“This is something that you know can happen – the agency drove nearly 775,000 miles last year – and we know we’re at risk anytime we get on the road,” Thompson said. “But you just don’t expect something like this. We’re going to try to figure out what happened and do our very best to protect our drivers and serve folks the best way we can.”
Brittain, better known as “Big John” to his friends and family according to an obituary provided by Ashelawn Memorial Chapel, Gardens and Mausoleum, is survived by three sons, John Kyle Brittain and wife Christy of Lansing, Jason Brittain and wife Penny of Creston, Casey Steele and wife Tiffany of Jefferson along with a daughter, Anna Wolfe of Cherryville, in addition to other family members.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015 at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel with Rev. Lloyd Day officiating.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.