There was a tragic accident around 3pm Tuesday afternoon on Highway 19 at Newdale near Sycamore Circle (Blue Rock Road). Investigators said a County Transportation van veered off the road and slammed into a guard rail. The metal rail punctured the gas tank and caused the van to burst into flames as it slid off the bank. The passenger in the front of the van, 48 year old Billy Grindstaff was trapped inside the van and pronounced dead on the scene. Four other occupants, the driver and three kindergarten age children were able to get out. All of the survivors were taken to Blue Ridge Hospital in Spruce Pine with minor injuries. The accident is still under investigation by the highway patrol to determine what made the vehicle veer off the road.