KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Four pedestrians were killed in a Sunday crash on Interstate 81, according to the Kingsport Police Department (KPD).
A release from the KPD states that around 7 p.m. a white Chevrolet Express van was heading south on I-81 when its front left tire became flat. The driver pulled the van onto the right-hand shoulder of the interstate and five of the eight occupants exited the van to repair the flat tire, the release states.
Later, a Peterbilt tractor-trailer, driven by Saul A. Carrera, 60, of New York, N.Y., was traveling southbound on I-81 and allegedly veered to the right shoulder, hit the van and struck all five pedestrians who were fixing the tire.
The tractor-trailer then reportedly continued a short distance, eventually jack-knifed and overturned off the right side of the road. Carrera was transported to an area hospital for treatment of “non-incapacitating injuries,” the KPD release stated.
Four of the five pedestrians were killed and the fifth sustained “suspected major injuries,” the KPD stated. The three occupants inside the van were uninjured.
The information gained through an investigation by police gave probable cause that Carrera was operating the tractor-trailer while impaired, according to the release.
Carrera was charged with the following:
-Vehicle Homicide by Intoxication x4
-Reckless Aggravated Assault
-Felony Reckless Endangerment
-Failure to Exercise Due Care
“As of the time of issuance of this release, Mr. Carrera remains hospitalized in stable condition under police guard. Upon his discharge, he will be taken into custody and transported to jail. His bond has been set at $200,000,” said the KPD.
Jesse James Delacruz, 49, Jose Urbano Serrano Ramos, 25, were among the 4 who died as a result of the crash, the release stated. The other identities were not released.
The southbound lanes of I-81 remained closed for several hours due to the investigation but have since then reopened. The investigation remains active and ongoing by the KPD Traffic Unit.