The driver of one of the vehicles involved in a three-car crash on North Lee Highway early Wednesday morning died from the injuries he suffered.
Kevin Byrwa Jr., 26, of Etowah, died Wednesday afternoon at Erlanger Medical Center.
Investigation into the cause of the crash continues, according to officials at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit, which is in charge of the investigation.
The crash occurred around 7 a.m.
According to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for BCSO, Byrwa was traveling southbound on North Lee when his Jeep Cherokee apparently crossed the centerline and collided with a passenger car driven by Sandra Overs, 51, of Athens. Overs was headed northbound near the intersection of Eddie Wilson Lane.
After colliding with Overs’ car, Byrwa’s Jeep then reportedly slid sideways in the northbound lane and was struck in the passenger side by a van driven by Terry D. Hickman, 59, of Cleveland.
All three drivers were pinned in their vehicles, according to reports from the scene.
Bradley County Fire-Rescue first responders along with Bradley County Emergency Medical Service paramedics worked to free and begin treating the victims at the scene.
Overs was transported via ambulance to an Athens hospital, while Byrwa was taken to Erlanger Medical Center after paramedics determined he was in critical condition.
Hickman was first taken to SkyRidge Medical Center via BCEMS, and was later transferred to Erlanger, according to Gault.
“This is the fourth traffic death in 2014, in Bradley County,” Gault said.
Capt. W.G. Campbell said earlier this week vehicle crashes in Bradley County have been on an upward trend.
Driver inattention or distraction has been ruled as possible causes in the increase in the number of crashes over the past year.
Last year, Bradley County had eight traffic fatalities, down from 23 in 2012, according to Campbell. That was the fewest number recorded in 25 years.
Of the four traffic fatalities this year, three have occurred on North Lee Highway between the intersections of Walker Valley Road and Eddie Wilson Lane.
Three people died in 2012, virtually within the same stretch of roadway leading toward the city of Charleston.
Wednesday’s crash is still under investigation.