Tourist dies when car hits multiple trees in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mark Price
·1 min read

A man from South America was killed early Sunday when his car slammed into multiple trees inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to a release from the National Park Service.

The victim was identified as 25-year-old Gian Montano Spagnolo of Venezuela, officials said.

Investigators say the crash happened around 3 a.m. on a road known as the Spur, near the intersection of Caney Creek Road.

Spagnolo’s 2008 Nissan “was traveling south on the Spur when he lost control ... veered off the roadway and collided into multiple trees,” officials said.

He died at the scene, officials said. Photos show the vehicle was damaged beyond recognition.

“He was the only occupant of the vehicle and speed is believed to be a contributing factor,” officials said.

Investigators say Spagnolo had been “living and working Sevier County,” which includes popular tourist destinations such as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

His death marked the second time in just over two weeks someone from South America or Central America died while driving in the nation’s most popular national park.

On April 18, Maynoy Alexander Ardon, of Guatemala, was killed when his motorcycle plunged off the narrow, curvy road to Clingmans Dome overlook, McClatchy News reported April 20.

Ardon was heading down the mountain “when he lost control of his motorcycle ... veered off the roadway and landed approximately 100 feet below the embankment,” officials said.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the “most visited” national park in the nation. It had 12.1 million visitors last year, according to the National Park Service.