A Tennessee Highway Patrol vehicle was destroyed early Wednesday morning when it was struck in the rear by a motorist at the scene of a car fire on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County.
Investigating THP Sgt. Edgar A. Perry said the crash occurred in the westbound lanes at 1:43 a.m.
“Trooper Owen Caudill’s vehicle was struck while assisting on a vehicle fire on Interstate 40 near mile marker 411. Trooper Caudill arrived on the scene to find a vehicle fully engulfed in fire on the shoulder of the roadway. The Dandridge Volunteer Fire Department requested Caudill and a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office unit block two lanes of traffic while they extinguished the fire safely. Caudill positioned his vehicle blocking the middle lane, with his emergency equipment activated. Caudill exited his vehicle and a few moments later a motorist struck Caudill’s unit in the rear pushing the vehicle approximately 50-60 yards down the interstate,” Perry explained.
The THP vehicle, a 2018 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, was struck by a 2010 Nissan operated by Leslie Jarrett, 36, Craigsville, West Virginia.
The driver of the passenger vehicle had to be extricated from the vehicle and was transported by Jefferson County EMS. There were no reported injuries of law enforcement officers or other first responders on the scene, according to a report from the Dandridge Volunteer Fire Department. One fire engine responded and was assisted at the scene by the Jefferson County Rescue Squad.
Jarrett was sent to the UT Medical Center for treatment, and Perry said charges are pending.
The owner of the burned car is not identified in the report.