The landscape along Yarnell Road in western Knox County remained scarred Thursday afternoon following a violent car crash Wednesday night.
Three female students from Hardin Valley Academy were traveling in a Volkswagen Beetle on Wednesday when it went off the side of Yarnell Road, hit a utility pole, crashed through a fence, rolled several times, and eventually landed upside-down in a field. All three students were transported to UT Medical Center.
One of the students injured in the crash was 17-year-old Aundrea Tolliver. Tolliver's mother, Thereza Barnett, told 10News her daughter was in stable condition as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Barnett said Tolliver suffered broken facial bones and doctors are working to save her right eye which has completely lost its vision.
The families of the other two students injured in the vehicle have asked that their children's identities and physical status not be revealed.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office said the final crash incident report should be available Friday. KCSO spokesperson Martha Dooley stated the crash remained under investigation as of Thursday night, but said speed was a factor. There were also apparently conflicting reports from witnesses as to whether the car went off the road avoid a large oncoming truck.
Barnett said her daughter recalled the car going off the side of the road to avoid a "cement truck."
"The most important thing is we want anyone who might have information about the truck that caused this accident to come forward," said Barnett.
Wednesday night some residents along Yarnell Road told 10News that truck traffic is heavy along the narrow two-lane route. One neighbor said he believes transfer trucks utilize Yarnell Road to avoid the weigh station on Interstate 40 between Watt Road and Campbell Station Road.
Sgt. Randall Martin with the Tennessee Highway Patrol acknowledged heavy truck traffic on Yarnell Road, but said it was not frequently due to drivers dodging the scales.
"We've had some instances of trucks taking side roads to avoid the scales on I-40, but they usually take 70 on Kingston Pike. You have to take a small road to get to Yarnell Road and then the route is very narrow. That road is very difficult for a large transfer truck. We sometimes have patrols check for trucks dodging scales and have not had any reports recently on Yarnell Road," said Martin.
Martin said heavy truck traffic on Yarnell Road is overwhelmingly local.
"That is a rapidly growing area with a lot of development and dump trucks are moving a lot of earth," said Martin.
The quantity of dump trucks traveling on Yarnell Road is due in large part to a local landfill. A dump site is located just off Yarnell Road about a half-mile east of the intersection with Campbell Station Road.
Crash Aftermath and School Support
Although crews had already repaired the broken utility pole, Thursday splintered wood and debris from the crash remained scattered throughout the roadside on Yarnell Road. Among the visible wreckage were a hubcap, a headrest, and handwritten flash cards from a high school Spanish class.
One flashcard stood out in the littered pasture. Written on it was the word "remember."
The injured girls were anything but forgotten on Thursday at Hardin Valley Academy. Students passed out "Pink Out" fliers asking classmates to wear pink as a visible sign of support. Knox County Schools also made counselors available for any students or staff members who wished to talk.