Fatal Traffic Crashes Increase In TN This Year

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 23:30:57-04

It's been a deadly few days on Tennessee roads, and according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol the tragedies were part of a new troubling trend.

THP reported there were 405 fatal accidents at this point in 2015, and this year, there have been 461.

“Those are lives lost and families affected and that impacts the whole community,” said Sgt. Travis Plotzer.  “It’s a concern to us.”

Sgt. Plotzer said distracted driving is causing more accidents and, in many cases, people aren’t wearing seatbelts.

On Friday, a six car accident on I-40 near Burns claimed one life.  Dickson police say a tractor trailer crossed over into the right shoulder and hit a truck, which caused a chain reaction crash. Jesse Butts was killed and four other people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Friends said Butts was a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves in Smyrna, the son of the Chief Deputy of the Hickman County Sheriff's Office, and a father to three young children.

On Sunday, a pickup truck heading east on I-40 went off the side of the road, hit a disabled truck, lost control and skidded off the road into the woods. Shelby Cox and Cameron Isabell were both killed, and two others were injured. A THP report showed Cox and Isabell were not wearing seatbelts.

Butts’ family and friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to help with funeral expenses.

Butts’ visitation was scheduled at Taylor Funeral Home in Dickson, Tennessee on Friday, June 24 from 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. Services were set for Saturday, June 25 at the Walnut Church of Christ. A visitation will be held Saturday from 11AM until 2PM, with the service starting at 2PM.

TDOT has proposed some safety improvements for the interchange where Friday's accident occurred. Possible changes include adding a deceleration lane, and an additional right turn lane. There are also plans to install a portable traffic camera and message boards to help TDOT monitor the area and provide updates to drivers.