A 16-year-old female faces criminal charges and remains hospitalized in the University of Tennessee Medical Center, according to Kentucky State Police. She was airlifted after her Mercedes SUV ran head-on into a coal truck and flipped multiple times Thursday.
Trooper Shane Jacobs, public affairs officer at KSP Post 10 in Harlan, said the teen is no longer in critical condition.
University of Tennessee Medical Center officials had no information on the passenger in the SUV, 20-year-old John Deaver, of Harrogate, Tenn., who was initially listed in critical condition.
The wreck occurred at the intersection of U.S. 25E and the Corbin bypass about 4 p.m.
Jacobs said the pursuit began when the SUV passed Trooper Dallas Eubanks’ cruiser on the shoulder at a high rate of speed.
“Troopers from Knox County joined in the pursuit and followed the vehicle for several more miles but was were unable to get the vehicle to pull over,” Jacobs stated, noting the Mercedes exceeded 100 mph. “Due to the high rate of speed the Mercedes was traveling, the pursuit was terminated in the Gray community of Knox County.
As the chase reached the intersection with the Corbin bypass, the female driver of the SUV reportedly swerved into the southbound lane, sideswiping at least three vehicles before hitting the coal truck.
“I thought it was going to happen at the other light,” said one witness referring to the light at the intersection of U.S. 25E and Ky. 830 near Lynn Camp Middle/High School.
I just looked up and she was already past me,” said Jack Sterling, who was sitting at the bypass intersection waiting on the light.
“She tore off my right hand mirror and hit the right front fender,” Sterling added.
Emergency personnel reported the SUV flipped multiple times following the collision, ejecting the teen from the vehicle.
The teen and Deaver were both airlifted from the scene.
Jacobs said the driver of the coal truck, 43-year-old Eric Wilder of Thornhill, Tenn., was not injured.
Traffic in both directions was shut down for more than an hour as emergency personnel cleared the highway to land the two helicopters and then to tow the vehicles from the scene.
Kentucky State Police are continuing the investigation.
Jacobs said the juvenile, a resident of Harrogate, had been reported missing earlier that morning by her mother.
Kentucky State Police Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Corbin Police, Corbin Fire Department and West Knox Fire Department assisted at the scene.