A preliminary investigation shows that the driver that caused a fatal crash overnight that shut down I-40 for a while probably lost control during heavy rain.
Two recent graduates of Jefferson County High School were killed.
The accident happened just after 1:00 am Thursday morning on I-40 east near Asheville Highway.
Investigators with the Knoxville Police Department believe Jean- Luke Lane, 18, of White Pine, was driving in the west bound lanes when he lost control of the Honda Accord in the rain. The vehicle spun before flipping on its side and traveling across the median into the east bound lanes, where it was hit by a pickup truck. He and his passenger, Joshua Allen Bullington, 18, of White Pine were both killed.
The driver of the truck, Athanasios Tsarouhas, 49, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was taken to UT Medical Center where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries.
According to John Cagle, Assistant Principal of Jefferson County High School, both victims graduated from JCHS this past school year.
"They were just two outstanding young men," Cagle said.
Lane played for Jefferson County High School's football team for 4 years. Bullington was editor of the school's yearbook.
"They knew they were making memories for a lifetime," Cagle said.
Lane's friend, Zach Ramsey, said he couldn't believe what happened.
"Jean-Luke was the best friend in every way. [He was] capable of making anyone he met laugh for hours," Ramsey said.
Jean-Luke was a member of the football team for four years. Cagle called him "a great leader."
Josh was editor of the high school yearbook. He was voted most school spirited.
Investigators have not been able to determine if speed was a factor in the crash, or the victims were wearing seatbelts.
The interstate was reopened around 7:30 am.
An early morning fatal car crash has shut down a section of Interstate 40 eastbound near Asheville Highway.
Just after 1:00 am Thursday morning officers believe that the driver of a Honda Accord lost control of the car, it crossed over the median and landed in the westbound lanes.
The car was then hit by by a Chevrolet pick-up truck in the westbound lanes.
The two people in the car died at the scene, the driver of the truck was taken to UT Medical Center with life threatening injuries.
The eastbound lanes are closed while police investigate the accident scene. Traffic is being diverted at the Asheville Highway exit ramp. Authorities are not saying how long they expect the road to be closed.