By Dave Russell


A Sylva woman died Tuesday, March 30, in a three-vehicle crash on U.S. 74/441 at the intersection of Dicks Creek Road.

The call came into dispatch at about 3:45 p.m., N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper S.T. Hyatt said.

Catherine Tallent Pannell, 77, driving a 2008 GMC Acadia SUV, was making a left out of Dicks Creek Road to go east but failed to cross the median and get into the eastbound lane. She instead pulled into oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes, Hyatt said.

Pannell made minor contact with a 2020 Toyota Avalon in the right-hand lane of westbound U.S. 74/441. A Florida woman Pamela Ann Coffman, 72, was driving that vehicle and neither she nor her Toyota were severely impacted. 

“She tried to avoid contact with Pannell’s car and went to run off the road, so there was minor damage to that vehicle,” Hyatt said.

Pannell then swerved to avoid Coffman’s Toyota and crashed head-on into a 2017 Ford F150 driven by Barbara Kay Creighton, 72, of Bryson City, in the left-hand westbound lane, Hyatt said.

Peggy Ann Myles, 68, also of Bryson City, was a passenger in the truck. 

Of the four people involved, three were transported to hospitals.

Pannell was taken by Harris EMS to Harris Hospital and Mission Hospital in Asheville where she would die of her injuries that same day.

A funeral service was held Friday, April 2, at Scotts Creek Baptist Church.

Creighton was transported by Harris EMS to Harris Regional and to Mission and has since been released.

Myles was transported via Harris EMS to Harris Regional Hospital and flown by a Mountain Area Medical Airlift helicopter to Mission. She remained in Mission as of Wednesday morning.

No other vehicles were involved. The Acadia and F-150 were total losses.

In addition to the N.C. Highway Patrol, Sylva Fire Department, Jackson County Emergency Management, Harris EMS and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.