A motorist reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack as he drove on Railroad Street Friday morning, veering off the road, through a fence and into multiple buildings at Turlington Lumber Company, according to Clinton Police Department officials.
Chief Donald Edwards said police investigators who responded to the wreck believe that John Earl Loveless, 42, of Rose Hill, suffered cardiac arrest that led to the single-vehicle collision just after 9 a.m. Friday, near the intersection of Devane Street. He had a history of medical issues, family members told officers.
“They believe he had a heart attack and wrecked his vehicle into the buildings at Turlington Lumber as a result,” Edwards stated. “What we understand from his family is he was having some health problems.”
The 2001 Ford Expedition was being driven from the area of U.S. 701 Business back toward Lisbon Street. It ran off the right side of the roadway just east of Devane Street, where a fence is erected and some old storage structures are located. The front office to Turlington Lumber Company is west of Devane, and was not involved. There were no injuries of pedestrians or other motorists.
While minimal structural damage could be seen from the street, fencing was severely damaged. Investigators actually had an initial damage estimate ranging up to $100,000, Edwards noted.
According to police, Loveless had just moments earlier been at the Smithfield Packing plant, where he was employed. He has been out for medical leave and “had stopped to drop off paperwork” at the plant, located on East Railroad Street before traveling away. The collision happened just moments later, as the lumber company is located across the road just a few hundred feet down the street.
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