By Eddie West
Five people were injured in a horrific three vehicle wreck on Interstate 40 Tuesday (September 19).
The accident shut down both Interstate 40 west bound lanes from the Putnam County line to the Gordonsville Exit where motorists attempted to get back on the thoroughfare, creating an almost day long traffic jam in Gordonsville.
The wreck occurred at 7:57 a.m. at the 267 mile marker or at the Smith/Putnam County line.
Two tractor-trailer trucks ended up wrecked on the west bound bridge which crosses the Caney Fork River, located just a few yards east of the entrance to the Smith County Welcome Center (Buffalo Valley Rest Area).
A third vehicle came to a stop on its top on the roadway a few feet west of the bridge.
The wreck occurred when a tractor-trailer truck traveling east bound crossed the median and struck a second tractor-trailer truck and another vehicle.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), the wreck involved a 1997 Freightliner driven by Roy Brown, a 67 year old Tennessee resident, who was injured in the accident. Brown was traveling alone when the accident occurred.
A second tractor-trailer trailer truck, a 2004 Volvo, was driven by Cesar Adrian Duran Gonzales, a 42 year old resident of Mexico, who was also injured. A passenger in the Gonzales vehicle was identified as Jorge Ernesto Rodriguez-Fernandez, 38 years of age and a resident of Mexico, according to THP. Rodriguer-Fernandez was also injured.
A third vehicle, a 2021 Honda Passport, was driven by Tammy Pletcher, a 49 year old Tennessee resident, who was also injured. A passenger in Pletcher’s vehicle was identified as Cheryl Middlebrooks, a 60 year old Tennessee resident. Middlebrooks was also injured in the accident.
According to THP, “Brown was traveling east bound on Interstate 40. Gonzales and Pletcher were each traveling west bound on Interstate 40. The tractor-trailer truck driven by Brown crossed the median into the west bound lanes. Upon entering the west bound lanes Brown’s vehicle struck the tractor-trailer truck driven by Gonzales on its front passenger side and hit the vehicle driven by Pletcher on its front driver’s side. After impact, the tractor-trailer truck driven by Brown came to an uncontrolled final rest on the right shoulder of the roadway facing east. The tractor-trailer truck driven by Gonzales came to an uncontrolled final rest in the middle of west bound lanes. Pletcher’s vehicle came to an uncontrolled final rest on its top on the right shoulder of the roadway facing north”.
The day following the accident, Wednesday (September 20), it was unclear why Brown crossed the median and the accident was still under investigation.
All five people involved in the accident received various degrees of injury.
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