Identities Released, Manhunt Still Underway In Fatal I-24 Crash - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Identities Released, Manhunt Still Underway In Fatal I-24 Crash

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Officials have been searching for Ruben Prado-Peña, age 35, for questioning in a fatal hit and run crash on I-24. Officials have been searching for Ruben Prado-Peña, age 35, for questioning in a fatal hit and run crash on I-24.
Traffic was backed up for miles overnight after a wrong-way head on crash in Interstate 24. Traffic was backed up for miles overnight after a wrong-way head on crash in Interstate 24.

La VERGNE, Tenn. – The names have been released of the victims in a head-on crash on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County. One person was killed and three were injured.

Troopers said 31-year-old Cynthia Joyner was killed in the crash. It happened on eastbound I-24 near mile marker 66 in Rutherford County near the Sam Ridley Boulevard exit around 2 a.m. Saturday.

Officials from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said a Chevrolet Tahoe driven by 35-year-old Nashville resident Ruben Prado-Peña was traveling the wrong way on the interstate when it struck a Ford Fiesta head-on.

There were four people inside the Fiesta. Joyner was killed. The other three were injured, including the 30-year-old driver, Shanna Phillips, from Georgia; 39-year-old Jack Gaillard from Chattanooga; and Joey Harvey, also from Chattanooga. Harvey's age was not available.

Joyner was from Chattanooga.

Officials said each victim was wearing a seatbelt.

One of the injured victims was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Another was transported to nearby StoneCrest Medical Center in Smyrna.

Troopers were unsure if Prado-Peña was injured. He apparently fled the scene on foot after the collision. Investigators said alcohol was suspected as a factor in the crash.

Eastbound lanes were closed for several hours while troopers conducted their investigation. Westbound lanes were also affected with rubbernecking delays. 

A manhunt was underway after a NewsChannel5 photojournalist reported seeing a person matching Prado-Peña's description walking into the woods at Mason Road and Industrial Boulevard in La Vergne.

Troopers set up a perimeter to search for the suspect. They believed he may have suffered injuries from the crash and may need medical treatment. 

Law enforcement personnel from the La Vergne Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and a helicopter from the Metro Nashville Police Department were aiding the THP in the search.

The search was scaled back around 2:30 p.m. because of hot temperatures. Two police officers had to receive medical attention for heat exhaustion. One was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

"It's hot. It's hot and they're getting dehydrated. We've had two officers go down already," said Sergeant Bill Miller with the THP. 

Hot weather was also causing problems with a search helicopter, which uses a heat sensor to search for suspects. The hot temperatures were causing problems with their readings.

Officials were still canvassing the nearby neighborhoods and businesses.

The suspect's wife was being questioned about his whereabouts. Police said she was cooperating fully with their investigation.

Warrants were taken out for the arrest of Prado-Peña for leaving the scene of a fatal crash. 

Anyone with information about Prado-Peña's whereabouts has been urged to call the THP Nashville District Office at 615-741-2060.

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