Tennessee Highway Patrol has released the name of a man who was killed Wednesday evening after his truck crashed into a culvert and embankment on Candies Creek Ridge Road. His injured passengers have also been identified.
Ronnie L. Pope, 46, of Old Fort, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the initial report filed by THP trooper Tony Cameron.
Pope’s passengers, Jason L. Wilcox, 33, also of Old Fort, and Keith Wayne, 43, of Cleveland, were both injured and taken to Erlanger Medical Center for treatment.
According to Cameron, none of the occupants of the 1978 Dodge pickup truck were wearing seat restraints when Pope reportedly drove off of the roadway in the south lane of Candies Creek Ridge Road, overcorrected and struck a culvert. Cameron noted the truck came to rest against an embankment.
Cameron also noted in his report that alcohol was a factor in the crash and further testing was requested regarding Pope’s blood-alcohol content.
Wilcox was flown to Erlanger Medical Center and Wayne was transported by a Bradley County Emergency Medical Service ambulance.
Pope became Bradley County’s sixth traffic-related fatality this year.
According to THP reports, 892 people have died on Tennessee’s roadway in 2013, down from 907 year-to-date.
Failure to use proper safety restraints is blamed for 665 deaths this year.
Data for alcohol-related crash fatalities is typically delayed until cases are cleared through investigation. No such data was available for 2013.
“It can happen in the blink of an eye,” said Capt. W.G. Campbell of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
“A vehicle crash can change the lives of those around you in an instant. We are coming into the holiday season and will continue to educate drivers of the importance of safety and maintaining focus on the road while driving. Speed is most always a factor, but we are now seeing driver distraction as the big culprit. Add alcohol to the equation and it could be a recipe for tragedy,” he added.
Bradley County continues to lead the state in traffic-related fatality reduction.
“All crashes are preventable but when someone gets behind the wheel of a car or truck and doesn’t pay attention, coupled with impairment, this elevates the risk to the driver, passengers and the public. We will continue to watch for those drivers who break the driving laws, as well as continue educating about the dangers which could be associated with impaired, distracted or reckless driving,” Campbell said.
THP has a number of planned checkpoints set up during the holiday season and into the first of the new year.