MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – UPDATE 11/7/2019 – Local 24 News has learned the truck that crashed into TDOT contract workers, killing two and leaving a third worker and a trooper injured, had been reported stolen.
We received the following statement from Penske, who said they rented the truck to another company:
The vehicle involved in the accident was not driven or operated by Penske. We are a truck rental company. A commercial trucking company rented the vehicle from Penske. However, it is Penske’s understanding that our customer reported the rental semi-truck involved in this accident as stolen to police. As this is an ongoing investigation, we would defer additional questions to local law enforcement. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation. Penske extends its sincere condolences to the loved ones of those victims involved in this tragic accident.
11/6/2019 – Two interstate construction workers are dead and two others, including a Tennessee Highway patrolman, were injured. This, after a violent collision around 4:00 a.m. Wednesday on I-40, near the Arlington exit in northeast Shelby County.
Investigators said the driver of an 18-wheeler hit a trooper’s car and TDOT contract workers from out of state.
The crash took hours of clean up and a follow-up investigation. Troopers said the deadly accident once again reinforced the importance of the state’s Move Over Law, and highway safety, near work zones.
“It was definitely preventable,” Sgt. Chris Richardson from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.
Sgt. Richardson said that 18-wheeler plowed into a crew from A&A Safety from Ohio, who were laying down reflectors on the interstate.
The impact killed 22-year-old Jared Helton and 30-year-old Justin Stafford and injured another worker.
An A&A spokesperson said it’s the first time in the company’s 35-year-history that workers died on the job.
“It just goes to show how everybody should be aware and be practicing the Move Over Law, and it applies not only to our vehicles, emergency vehicles, but also to any vehicle that’s pulled over on the side of the road,” Sgt. Richardson said.
The violent collision also crushed a THP trooper’s car, making it almost unrecognizable.
Paramedics took that trooper to Regional One Medical Center, where fellow law enforcement checked on him Wednesday morning. That trooper is expected to be OK, but a THP spokesperson believed he suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.
“It’s not poor lighting, not when you’ve blue lights going. For the most part, it’s people not paying attention or other circumstances,” Sgt. Richardson said.
Wednesday morning’s deadly accident on I-40 makes at least nine killed in Tennessee work zones this year. 13 others died on the job last year.
“If you can’t move over and do it safely, slow down, law says you must do one of the two,” Sgt. Richardson said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s crash report from the morning crash won’t be finalized for a few weeks.
A spokesperson in Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said that crash report will be reviewed before deciding if the semi-truck driver could face any charges.