At Least One Killed In Coffee County Crash

Posted at 9:51 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 22:51:06-05

A 63-year-old man from Illinois was killed on Interstate 24 East in Coffee County after the pickup he was driving went across the median and struck two tractor trailers head on. 

The crash happened around 11 a.m. Tuesday at mile marker 97 near Beechgrove, near the Bedford County line.

The victim was identified as Theodore van Wermeskerken from Mokena, Illinois. 

Investigators with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said van Wermeskerken was driving westbound on I-24 when his pickup sideswiped another truck driven by James Klein, also from Illinois. It was not known if the two were traveling together. 

The victim's pickup then crossed the median and into oncoming eastbound traffic, striking the semis. One of the trucks was hauling ice cream. The other was hauling metal beams. 

PHOTOS: Fatal I-24 Crash In Coffee County

Officials said van Wermeskerken was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead on the scene. He was wearing his seatbelt. 

A Hyundai sedan was also involved and sustained significant damage, but it was not clear how. 

The 35-year-old driver and a 6-year-old girl in one of the vehicles were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. 

Troopers said drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash. 

The interstate re-opened before 5 p.m. after crews cleared the wreckage from the scene.