Car Plunges Off Embankment Injuring Two Persons

April 2, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people were injured Tuesday evening when their car plunged several feet off a steep embankment on the Cookeville Highway just a short distance south of Hurricane Bridge.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 24 year old Roberto Perez of Cookeville was driving a 1994 Chevy Camaro south on Highway 56 when he failed to properly negotiate a curve, left the road to the right, struck a utility pole guide wire, went off a steep embankment, and struck a tree.

Perez and a passenger, 48 year old Maria Mendez of Cookeville, were later taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were treated and released. Perez said he was taking Mendez to work when the crash occurred. She is employed at Tenneco.

A witness claims that the car was traveling south when it went over the yellow line of the highway and then overcorrected before losing control.

After the accident, another passerby, 31 year old Juan Gaspar of Cookeville, who was driving a blue Mustang enroute to his job at Tenneco, stopped at the scene. Perez got in the car with Gaspar and they drove away, leaving Mendez behind. The two men claim they did not know each other.

Central dispatch was notified and officers were alerted to be on the lookout for the blue Mustang. A county deputy stopped Gaspar's car at the Keystop Market on Cookeville Highway (formerly Robert's Grocery). Perez claims his intent was not to flee the scene, but to get to the hospital.

Gaspar and Perez were returned to the site of the crash

EMS treated Perez and Mendez at the scene and then transported them to the hospital.

Perez was charged with failure to maintain the lane of travel, driving without a license, and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance)

Gaspar was charged with do drivers license and no insurance

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