Macon County Chronicle

Head-On Collision Kills Two - Seven Others Injured, Two Critical

Two Macon County immigrant workers are dead and two remain in critical condition this week at Vanderbilt Medical Center, in Nashville, following a Tuesday afternoon, September 28th, head on collision at the intersection of Highway 10 North and Cold Springs Road.

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Sixty-year-old Jackie Gann, of Lafayette, who was behind the wheel of a southbound 2004 Freightliner tractor trailer, had just rounded the curve on the Scottsville Road, when a northbound Ford Econoline van, that was attempting to turn left, drove directly into the path of his truck hitting him head-on, killing the driver and one of the eight other passengers instantly, according to the investigating officer, Trooper Danny Fisher, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“As emergency medical personnel began responding to the scene,” said Chief Keith Scruggs, “we quickly assessed the situation and methodically removed the patients based on their medical needs. With five receiving massive critical injuries, it became a race against time to get them out as quickly and safely as possible. There were three airlifted from the scene, four transported to Macon County General Hospital by the EMS, where two more were also airlifted, and two pronounced dead at the crash site.”

“I’ve seen a lot of accidents,” Chief Scruggs continued, “but this is one of the worst I’ve seen on Highway 10, considering there were nine unrestrained occupants in the van. The tremendous impact caused the passengers to fly forward, thus causing so much bodily injury, including multiple broken bones and lacerations. But with our resources stretched thin, area agencies immediately began arriving at the scene and everyone at the site knew their roles and worked effortlessly to get the job done. I can’t say enough good things about the camaraderie among us that day in our quest to save lives. It was just an unavoidable accident and fortunately Jackie Gann, who is a former Lafayette police officer, was uninjured that day, but with the fatalities involved, my heart goes out to him.”

“This is one of the top five worse intersections in Macon County,” added Lt. Butch Avera, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, “and we have seen more than one fatal accident at this location throughout the years. It is what we call a multi tasking intersection with two curves, a dip in the road and several vision obstructions when you are coming in at an angle including trees, fences and bushes.”

According to Pat Carter, who lives at 5240 Scottsville Road, she immediately dialed 911, then rushed outside, prayed for the victims, and tried to comfort them before the emergency personnel began arriving on the scene.

“It was certainly a team effort,” said Trooper Danny Fisher, “and everyone certainly did a wonderful job. I would like to extend a special thanks to Kim Shaw and Heather Turner, a couple of local citizens who arrived on the scene and began assisting the walking wounded.”

The Macon County Sheriffs Department and THP officers closed off all north and south bound traffic on that short stretch of roadway, reopening Highway 10 north around 9:00 p.m. after the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) from East Tennessee, completed their investigation and reenactment of the head on collision.

Due to notification of the families, the names of the victims, ranging in age from late teens to mid 40’s, have not been released yet, according to Officer Fisher.

Those responding to the scene including the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Macon County Sheriffs Department, Lafayette Fire Department, Rescue Squad, West Macon Rescue Squad, Macon County EMS, Smith County EMS, Trousdale County EMS, City of Red Boiling Springs Fire Department, Air Evac, Vanderbilt Lifeflight, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, and the Macon County Chronicle.

When contacted by telephone on Monday morning, October 4th, Vanderbilt spokesperson, Ashley Culver, stated that one patient has been discharged, two are stable, but unfortunately two still remain in critical condition.