Emergency officials responded to the scene just before 4 a.m. Monday.
Charles Thomas Morgan, 54, of Rutledge was identified as the driver of a truck and trailer rig loaded with live chickens. Rutledge was headed northbound on Interstate 75 when he reportedly entered a construction zone near Exit 33 in Charleston.
The tractor-trailer struck a highway contractor’s work truck owned by a company employed by Tennessee Department of Transportation to place new reflectors along the interstate “Fog Zone.”
Nicholas Feller, 29, of the unincorporated community of Shandon, Ohio, was working on the roadway and was struck when Morgan’s truck collided with the contractor’s vehicle, according to the initial crash investigation report filed by Sgt. Phillip Dunn of THP.
Dunn noted that Morgan was trapped in the cab of his truck and was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Feller was reportedly the driver of the work truck.
Feller was working on the roadway and was positioned in front of his contractor vehicle as the chicken truck approached.
A fourth vehicle was also part of the crash scene but was not a contact vehicle.
The truck driven by Orville Foster was used to warn oncoming traffic of the construction zone.
According to the report, the two contractors’ trucks were in the left lane of the interstate and warning lights were activated. Morgan’s truck reportedly struck the work vehicle.
Due to the force of impact, Feller’s truck then struck THP Trooper Travis Ryans’ cruiser.
Ryans was working the construction detail. Ryans was taken to an Athens hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
THP’s Critical Incident Response Team members could not determine initially which vehicle struck Fellers.
Fellers and Morgan both died at the scene of the crash, according to the report.
Investigation is continuing.
Traffic along the interstate was rerouted by TDOT and Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deputies as CIRT personnel documented the crash scene.
Officials reopened the northbound travel lanes at noon Monday.
Sheriff Jim Ruth said deputies continue to stress the Lifesaver program.
“We will continue to watch for drivers who are not following traffic laws. We have had 15 fatalities in the city, county and on the interstate,” Ruth said.
“With the upcoming holiday travel season approaching, we want to make sure drivers and their passengers make it to their destination. Warnings will be given to some if they are breaking the laws but we aim to keep our roadways safer,” he added.