Did Walter Cronkite crash in the Smokies?

July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite

In the late 1970s, U.S. 441, the highway that bisects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was being repaved. Given the high traffic on that road, the work was being done at night. I was there writing a story on that nocturnal paving operation, when one of the Park people mentioned that CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite had come down the Tennessee side of the road too fast and had wrecked his car. He suffered minor injuries in the accident.

I cannot find any references to that accident on the Web. Cronkite doesn’t mention it in his autobiography; the word “Tennessee” doesn’t appear once in the book.  The crash–if it happened–took place at a time when the foibles of the famous were not instantly trumpeted to a celebrity-crazed public.