Crash hospitalizes Link Webb

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

FARMINGTON -- Link Webb, president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers Association, was injured in a one-vehicle crash Friday night and was hospitalized in Nashville until Monday afternoon.

Lincoln "Link" Eugene Webb, 35, of 2460 State Route 64, proprietor of Webb Stables on Shelbyville Highway, was driving home alone after buying tickets to a rodeo for his family, according to his mother-in-law, Elaine Beaty, of Byrdstown, Tenn.

"He did get home Monday afternoon," Beaty said late Tuesday morning as a home health nurse and Webb's wife, Rhea Ellen, were changing bandages. "Supposedly he'll be OK. It will just take time to recover."

Webb cracked his left wrist, broke his right shoulder blade, suffered cuts to his face, a bad laceration to the back of his head, a concussion, some swelling of the brain and a punctured lung, Beaty said.

However, she said, "the doctors and the nurses were amazed at his recovery" at Vanderbilt Medical Center where he was taken by a Marshall County Emergency Medical Service Ambulance.

During the 2008 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Webb rode Santana's El Nino, Beaty said. The horse is owned by Michael and Ann Jones of Ringmaster Farms in La Fayette, Ga., and it was named World Grand Champion.

Beaty said the family has received many calls since the crash Friday night, adding, "We're very appreciative of all the offers of assistance. We've had numerous offers."

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper David Hill investigated the crash with the assistance of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department, according to THP Sgt. Bob Logan.

Information from the trooper's report and from Tina Hodge, a nearby resident, shows that Webb was driving a gold 2000 Chevy S-10 pickup truck west on Hunter Road at about 10:15 p.m. The truck came to rest nearly a half-mile east of Hunter Bob's Road.

The truck went off the right side of the road striking the face of a guardrail, Logan said while reading Hill's report. The force of that impact with the guardrail caused the truck to cross the center-line into the other lane. The driver over-corrected.

The truck's rear wheels skidded sideways and the truck over-turned several times before coming to rest in a ditch. Exceeding the posted speed limit was noted on Hill's report.

"The crash remains under investigation by the THP," Logan said.

The trooper's report indicated that Webb may have been "ejected through the driver's side window into a field," but Hodge said she believed Webb might have crawled out on his own.

Webb's truck was seen by Hodge's niece, Jennifer Bratcher, who was driving Hodge's daughters home from a skating rink to the Hodge residence on Mt. Lebanon Road, Hodge said Monday. Bratcher saw the truck in the ditch and told her aunt. She drove to the scene with her husband, Bubba, and her sister-in-law, Tawna Eady.

While Tina Hodge cradled Webb's head, Eady called 911 and Bubba Hodge tried to keep Webb still.

"He kept trying to move, but he never opened his eyes," Tina Hodge said.

She estimated the farm field where Webb was that night to be about a mile north of Shelbyville Highway.

At about 10 a.m. Monday, Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokeswoman Ashley Culver said Webb was in "stable condition."