Recent Polk high graduate dies in car collision

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2015

By Leah Justice

A 2015 Polk County High School graduate was killed on Tuesday, Sept. 15 in a two-vehicle collision along Hwy. 108 in Mill Spring.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Austin Hayes, 19, of Grassy Knob Road in the Sunny View community died at the scene, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.


The wreck occurred at 2:07 p.m. Tuesday along Hwy. 108 East when Hayes was driving towards Rutherford County and ran off the right side of the road, according to highway patrolman Matt Strawbridge. Hayes was driving a 2003 Ford Mustang.

Strawbridge said Hayes overcorrected and slid into another vehicle traveling West on Hwy. 108 towards Mill Spring.

The driver of that vehicle, a 1992 Jeep Wrangler, was driven by James Alexander Jr. of Rutherforton, according to highway patrol reports.

Alexander was transported to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and was reported to have suffered non-life threatening injuries. Strawbridge said Alexander was expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, Strawbridge said. There were no passengers in either vehicle. Strawbridge said speed was a factor in the collision.

The highway patrol said the local response to the wreck was great, including from the Mill Spring, Columbus and Green Creek fire departments and the N.C. Department of Transportation, which detoured Hwy. 108 traffic for a short time Tuesday.