By Dave Russell


A Sylva man killed in a March 18 car wreck likely suffered a massive heart attack which led directly to the accident, according to a medical examiner report.

Clayton Franks, 63, of Sylva, was traveling westbound on U.S. 74/441 near Smoky Cove Road in a black 2008 Chevrolet Silverado when he crossed over the concrete median into the eastbound lane, according to N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper S.T. Hyatt.

The truck hit a 1998 tan Ford van head on, killing Jose Jesus Martinez-Sandoval, 37, of Whittier.

There were no passengers in either vehicle. The accident report Franks’ vehicle left tire impressions of 127 feet.

Tire impression evidence is a broad term, according to Highway Patrol First Sergeant Scott Smith. 

“That could mean tread marks either from dirt or dust leaves tracks on the highway or indention marks like on soft surfaces,” he said. 

It did not indicate Franks was applying the brakes before the accident, he said.