BCSO clears up lingering questions surrounding Crown College student's death

Published: Feb. 27, 2018 at 2:11 PM EST
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The Blount County Sheriff's Office cleared up questions Tuesday as it released the autopsy results showing how a Crown College student died Feb. 4 in Louisville, Tenn.

They said 20-year-old Blake Smith crashed into the construction site on Feb. 4 and the autopsy shows he suffered a "small subdural brain bleed." Investigators said that's what likely caused him to become confused and wander away from the car.

Rumors swirled around the 20 year old's disappearance and death. On Tuesday BCSO answered many of those questions, including one about an alleged brick left on the man's gas pedal in his car.

"It was not a brick, but a piece of concrete," BCSO's Marian O'Briant said. "Like what you'd find at a construction site.

"We believe that Smith's vehicle got stuck in the mud, and he used the piece of concrete to place on the accelerator while he pushed the vehicle from the driver's side fender near the driver's door," O'Briant continued. "We found muddy hand prints on the vehicle consistent with him pushing the vehicle, as well as footprints in that area."

O'Briant said the damage to Smith's car is consistent with striking the deck's support post at the Louisville construction site, adding that BCSO believes that Smith got stuck between the driver's door and the support post.

His parents previously told Local 8 News that personal belongings such as a boot, beanie and Smith's wallet were found near the car. BCSO said they investigated all of the cards left in his wallet and found no credit or debit activity in the days following the car's discovery on Feb. 5.

O'Briant said there is no evidence that anyone else was in the car with Smith, or that he was assisted in trying to get the car out from under the deck. As to why he was at the construction site, investigators said they learned he enjoyed going out to explore and that's probably what he was doing.

BCSO said he was alone when he entered Georges Creek, where his body was found about a half mile from the crash site. They've ruled his death an accidental drowning. O'Briant added that the water in which deputies found Smith's body was about 18-20 inches deep.

According to the Sheriff's Office, his toxicology report was negative.

"It was negative for everything a toxicology screens for, such as alcohol, nicotine, drugs (both legal and illegal), narcotics, (benzodiazepines), etc.," O'Briant said. "Smith had none of these in his system."

Sheriff James Berrong said the case is closed, and that he hopes the autopsy results will bring closure for the family.

“Blake’s death is a sad and unfortunate accident,” Berrong said. “From all accounts, he was a Godly and kind young man who had an adventurous spirit and liked to explore, which is likely why he came to Blount County. His life, and death, touched many people, including those of us at the Sheriff’s Office. I am very sad for the family and friends he left behind.”

Read more about Blake Smith's disappearance below.