Authorities seek truck driver who fled fatal crash in Meigs County

Authorities seek truck driver who fled fatal crash in Meigs County

May 6th, 2016 by Emmett Gienapp in Local Regional News

This is a developing story.

Site of crash

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John Wesley Bennett

John Wesley Bennett

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is searching for a person of interest after a three-vehicle crash on Highway 58 killed four people in Meigs County this afternoon, according to a news release from the office of 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson.

John Wesley Bennett, 34, was allegedly driving south in a dump truck that was involved in the wreck when a trailer that he was towing became disconnected and struck two vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, killing the four occupants of those vehicles. 

Johnson said Bennett allegedly, "continued up the road approximately 1000 yards where he exited the truck at that time and entered the woods up there sometime after getting out of the truck. 

Bennett has been arrested multiple times in Hamilton County, the first of which was for assault and burglary in September of 2013. He was arrested again only a few weeks later for driving on a revoked, suspended or cancelled license. 

Dan Daniels, a security guard at Shaw Industries, said the crash occurred close to his work. Others at the scene told Daniels that a car involved in the accident was rendered "nonexistent."

"It's been crushed up pretty bad," witnesses told Daniels, who had to take back roads to get to work because of the traffic jam. 

"They've got roads blocked all around here," he said. 

Emergency responders first received a call for help about 2:30 p.m.

Jennifer Flynn, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, said maintenance trucks from her department are on scene assisting emergency responders with traffic. 

She could not confirm how many vehicles were involved or what may have happened, but she did say "All indications are that it's very, very serious." 

Both northbound and southbound lanes have been shut down while Tennessee Highway Patrol reconstructs the incident. 

Danielle Connor, an employee at Amvets just up the road from the accident said, "They're redirecting traffic right here in front of Amvets." 

She said southbound traffic is being turned around on Highway 58 and being sent back north. 

Drivers are encouraged to find an alternative route this afternoon as the highway may be closed for several hours. 


Stay with the Times Free Press as more information becomes available.