A 42 year old Watertown man, who was initially reported by the Tennessee Highway Patrol as having died from injuries in a three car crash near Alexandria Thursday night, is apparently still clinging to life in Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reported to WJLE around midnight that Vanderbilt hospital staff had told him Timothy Estes had died. Now, Trooper Jennings says he has been informed by Vanderbilt hospital that Estes is still alive but on life support.
Six other people were also injured in the crash which occurred on Highway 70 just east of Alexandria near the stock barn. Central dispatch received the call at 6:31 p.m.
Others injured were 47 year old David Glenn Cole of Watertown, 30 year old Brandyn Lee Wright of Smithville, and 37 year old Shirley Ann Hardy, 30 year old Jeff Bush, 16 year old Dustin Lee Hardy, and 12 year old Devyn Wayne Jones all of Rutledge, Alabama.
According to Trooper Jennings, Ms Hardy was traveling west on U.S. 70 in a blue 1994 Honda Accord when a maroon 1999 Chrysler Sebring, driven by Estes, came up behind her at a high rate of speed. According to Ms. Hardy, the driver seemed anxious to pass her, making more than one attempt to do so. When Estes finally pulled into the eastbound lane to pass Hardy, he found himself in the path of an approaching black 2000 Ford Focus, driven by Wright. The Estes car struck Wright's vehicle, causing Hardy's car to also be involved in the crash.
Estes's car ripped apart in the wreck. The front half of the car came to rest across the westbound lane, while the back section was off to the side of the highway. Both Estes and his passenger, Cole were ejected as neither was wearing a seat belt.
Estes was airlifted from the scene by an Air Evac helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Cole was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital with serious injuries and later taken by ground ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital.
Hardy and her passengers, Bush, Jones, and Dustin Hardy were all taken by private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment. Wright was treated and released at the hospital.
According to Trooper Jennings, alcohol was present in the Estes vehicle and charges are pending against Cole, who owned the car being driven by Estes.
Meanwhile, Ms Hardy was issued a citation for failing to carry a drivers license and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). Ms. Hardy, a former resident of Smithville, was enroute to Carthage to visit a family member, according to Trooper Jennings.
Trooper Jennings was assisted in the investigation by THP Lieutenant Randy Maynard and members of the THP Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Others on the scene were members of the Main Station, Liberty, and Rescue unit of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff Patrick Ray and other members of the DeKalb County sheriff's department, Alexandria police and fire departments, and first responders.
Highway 70 in that area was closed to traffic for several hours during the crash investigation and cleanup, forcing motorists to have to take alternate routes.