According to Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Phillip Reagan, Charles Kirkpatrick, 45, was involved in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 Thursday around 10 p.m.
Reagan said the crash occurred on the northbound side of I-75 near mile-marker 35, when Kirkpatrick was believed to have left the roadway, overcorrected and then travelled off the right of the interstate and struck a tree.
Reagan said the car, described as being a Toyota Camry, then burst into flames.
Stan Clark, information officer for Bradley County, said when first responders began to arrive on the scene, the fire was “too hot” to attempt a rescue.
Bradley County Fire Rescue arrived and gained control of the blazing auto.
Reagan said through his investigation, it was possible that Kirkpatrick wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and that there were indications of possible alcohol use. He added that toxicology testing will be underway as his investigation continues.
Reagan didn’t believe excessive speed was a factor in the crash.
Reagan also said that Kirkpatrick was an employee of Knoxville News-Sentinel.
THP troopers have been stationed every few miles along the interstate during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, which began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will end at 6 a.m. Monday.
Bradley County has recorded two fatalities this month
Ronnie Pope of Old Fort died Nov. 20, when his vehicle left the roadway on Candies Creek Ridge Road.
Pope and his two passengers struck an embankment. Alcohol was also believed to be a factor in that crash, according to reports.
THP trooper Tony Cameron is in charge of that crash investigation.