A young Portland woman was critically injured in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 10 South, Tuesday afternoon, October 13th, around 5:30 p.m.
Jennifer Gilliam, of Portland, Tennessee, was driving south bound on the Highway 10 hill, in a 2004 Ford Explorer, when she lost control coming out of a curve and crossed the center line striking a 1993 Ford Flatbed pickup, which was driven by Calvin Johnson, Jr., head on in the north bound lane.
According to Sgt. Ray Amalfitano, of the Lafayette Police Department, a passing motorist alerted him to the accident at the bottom of the hill and he immediately headed to the scene to see if he could be of any assistance. Arriving at the crash site, Amalfitano, found the driver of the flatbed outside of his truck, but the young woman in the Explorer was unresponsive and her vehicle was on fire.
“I retrieved my knife to cut the seat belt to free the woman,” stated Sgt. Amalfitano, “but the fire smothered out on it’s own, so I didn’t move the female occupant, considering she was in pretty bad shape. I immediately notified dispatch to send the THP, EMS, Rescue Squad and the Lafayette Fire Department to the scene ASAP.”
After trimming off the door, the Lafayette firefighters were able to get the woman out of the vehicle and due to the rainy weather conditions Air Evac was grounded, but the ambulance personnel treated the victim at the scene for several minutes before transporting her to Macon County General, then on the Vanderbilt Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, in critical condition.
The Lafayette Police Department and the Macon County Sheriff’s Department closed off all north and south bound traffic from the top of the hill in the Lafayette city limits to Meadorville Church, approximately three miles from the site, with vehicles detoured to the Ferguson Hill Road.
Those responding to the scene included the Lafayette Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Macon County Sheriff’s Department, Lafayette Fire Department, EMS, and the Rescue Squad. Charges are pending.
When contacted by telephone on Sunday morning, October 18th, Vanderbilt spokesperson, Carol Bartoo, stated that Mrs. Gilliam status has been upgraded to stable condition.
Troopers Donoho, Fisher and Mercer, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, were the investigating officers.