Ooltewah woman dies in I-75 crash
by By GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
May 06, 2012 | 6884 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AN OOLTEWAH woman was killed Friday afternoon as she travelled on Interstate 75.
AN OOLTEWAH woman was killed Friday afternoon as she travelled on Interstate 75.
A 33-year-old Ooltewah woman became Bradley County’s seventh traffic fatality of the year Friday.

She was driving along Interstate 75 and left the roadway, crashing into a bridge abutment.

Meridith B. Murray Tolley was identified by Tennessee Highway Patrol as the victim.

The crash occurred shortly before 1 p.m.

Tolley was reportedly going southbound on the interstate when she left the roadway. Her Hyaundai Tiburon traveled nearly 500-feet, then between the guardrails and into the abutment at the interchange of APD 40 and I-75, according to a report filed by trooper Kevin Hoppe.

Hoppe also noted in his report Tolley was wearing a seat belt and no indication of alcohol use was present during the intial stages of the crash scene investigation.

Tolley was pronounced dead on the scene, according to reports.

The vehicle was reportedly on fire when Cleveland Fire Department and Cleveland Police arrived on the scene. CFD firefighters aided in extrication.

There was no indication during the initial investigation why Tolley’s vehicle left the roadway, according to reports.

According to THP, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has begun placing the Daily Fatality Count on the Dynamic Message Signs placed along the interstate system.

This action was taken after a signifiant increase in traffic-related fatalities since the beginning of 2012.

Drivers and their passengers are “reminded to wear seat belts, obey the speed limit and not text and drive.”

“Bottom line – this is an unacceptable increase, and I think it’s important that drivers know just how many people have already died on our roadways this year,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.

“It’s my hope that seeing this number will be a sobering reminder to all motorists and will help change the behaviors that contribute to these deadly crashes.”

Bradley County has been stepping up enforcement as well. Sheriff Jim Ruth initiated Operation Lifesaver several months ago. Deputies have continued the campaign to save lives through aggressive traffic enforcement.

“Each one of these fatalities represents someone’s child, mother, father, brother, sister or friend,” said Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. “We want to act now to prevent other families from suffering this kind of tragedy.”

Drivers are also reminded to be aware of heavier motorcycle traffic.

Governors Highway Safety Office Director Kendall Poole said cyclists took to the roadways earlier this year due to a mild winter and somewhat early spring.

Companion Funeral and Cremation Services is in charge of funeral arrangements for Tolley.