Saturday wreck sends FHS student to Mission


Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer

Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, emergency personnel were dispatched to a report of a head on collision at the base of Cowee Mountain in Macon County. Sixteen-year-old Ethan Farrell was travelling north when his vehicle hydroplaned and wrecked unto another vehicle travelling southbound on U.S. 441.

The collision sent six people to the hospital, including Farrell, who was initially taken to Angel Medical Center and later airlifted to Mission in critical condition. The other vehicle involved in the accident was a family from Florida. Of the five occupants of the other vehicle, three were transported directly to Mission in Asheville (one critical, two serious) and two taken to Harris Regional Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

Macon County EMS was assisted by Franklin Fire Department and Harris EMS.

Farrell remains in critical condition at Mission Hospital. 

Farrell, a rising junior at Franklin High School and member of the cross-country team and a Panther Award winner, suffered a brain injury during the accident, according to reports posted by family members on social media.

Farrell underwent surgery to relieve pressure on the left side of his brain and although the surgery was successful, he is still sedated and in the intensive care unit today, although sedation levels have been lowered and he is beginning to move on his own.

The family posted on Facebook Monday morning to report that Farrell continues to improve.

“Doctors just came by and things just keep getting better. No infection results from tests and his lungs are already improving. Sitting here watching him he has grabbed the side of the bed on his own. I also prayed in his ear and he squeezed my hand. He hears your prayers and keep them coming.”

By Tuesday morning, the family continued to receive good news.

“Lots of moving in both legs and right arm some too. Respiratory came in to see if they could go to the next reduced setting of him breathing on his own with it as a backup, but his pressures went into the 40s so he is not ready for that. He still needs a little time there, which is okay.”

According to the family, Neurology has been monitoring Farrell’s brain activity since the surgery to remove the pressure, and so far it appears he is recovering well, he does have an MRI scheduled to get a more in-depth reading of his brain.