Update coming up next week on Dan Hall’s condition, check back.
A head-on crash in Loudon County occurring at approximately 6:33 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1, sent two to UT Medical Center where they were admitted to the Cardiovascular ICU after surgery.
William Daniel “Dan” Hall, 31, the editor and publisher of the Monroe County Daily News Express was driving south on Highway 411 through Loudon County, Nicholas C. “Nicky” Steffa, Jr., 41, was driving his mother’s car northbound. Witnesses stated Steffa crossed the center-line and hit Hall’s car head-on, critically injuring both. The crash occurred in the right southbound lane near Schultz Lane.
Vonore Fire Department personnel Steve Wheeler and Terry Byrum heard the call and went to assist Greenback Fire Department, Loudon County Fire and Rescue and Rural Metro EMS. Both drivers required extrication and were transported to UT Medical Center via ground ambulance. Lifestar was summoned, however, the helicopters were grounded due to weather conditions. Both arrived at the hospital approximately one hour after the wreck was reported.
Steffa suffered multiple fractures and extensive life-threatening injuries. Hall was admitted to the emergency room where doctors stitched lacerations to his face. Surgeons then repaired a right fractured wrist and fingers, and installed a rod and nail in his right leg because of a fractured femur. Hall also suffered at least eight fractured ribs. Hall was transferred from ICU to a private room, Thursday. Steffa remained in CV-ICU.
Trooper Gary Snow of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said witnesses stated Steffa drove into the oncoming lanes and hit Hall. Hall said he “Never saw him coming.” Charges are pending against Steffa who he suspected was driving while impaired. “We will know for certain when the blood tests are completed,” the trooper explained.
Ironically, Hall came very close to meeting Steffa the night before when Monroe County authorities were attempting to locate Steffa, and Hall was covering the manhunt for his newspaper. Steffa was on the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office “Most Wanted” list at the time. Steffa was reportedly on parole for previous convictions and wanted for a burglary at the time he ran into Hall. Steffa is now listed as captured.
Steffa has a history of arrests that go back to 1995 when he was arrested in Knox County on charges of public intoxication and possession of marijuana.
(This reporter is preparing a first person article about the experience of his son’s incident. Watch for it in next week’s Knoxville Journal.)
By Wes Hall