McKENZIE, Tenn.—Three people were airlifted following a one-car crash on Hwy. 79S Friday evening and the driver was charged with DUI and lack of due care by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
According to the THP report released to WENK/WTPR Saturday morning by Lt. Brad Wilbanks, Tracy Gray, age 55, of Paris, was driving a 2008 Buick Lucerne northbound on 79 when the accident occurred.
According to the report, Gray drove into the grass median, across the southbound lanes of 79 and completely exited the roadway, traveling into a wooded area and striking a tree head-on.
After exiting the highway, the vehicle remained in the wooded area facing west.
His passengers included Todd Scanlon, age 50, of Paris; and Teresa Smith, age 49, of Paris.
According to the report, neither the driver nor the passengers were wearing seatbelts. All three were airlifted to an area hospital for treatment, although the report does not state to which hospital they were transported.
McKenzie and Henry County EMS, McKenzie Police, McKenzie Fire and Rescue, Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, AirEvac and Vanderbilt Lifeflight, all responded to the scene. Southbound traffic was stopped and diverted on Skunk Hollow Road as emergency crews extricated the three subjects with the Hurst Jaws of Life.
Dan Ridley, a teacher at McKenzie High School, was jogging along the route when the accident occurred. He said the car was traveling fast when it crossed the median, the oncoming traffic, and exited into the wooded area.