Tragedy Strikes Two Truck Drivers in Fiery Crash

by Jana Ritter - Published: 12/03/2014

Motorists who happened to be on Interstate 24 near Nashville’s Briley Parkway exit early Tuesday morning, could only watch in horror as two trucks went up in flames after slamming into each other. While the initial cause of the crash is still being investigated, the most tragic result is confirmed that both semi drivers died at the scene.

I-24 Crash

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Police spokesman Don Aaron said an eastbound IFCO Systems tractor-trailer was hauling wooden pallets down Interstate 24 when it veered off the road around 5:13 a.m. After crossing the grassy median, it collided with a FedEx truck in the westbound lanes, which caused a series of explosions. A BMW then rear-ended the FedEx truck just moments after the trucks crashed. The two truck drivers were trapped inside their fiame-engulfed cabs and died on the scene, while the BMW driver was taken to hospital with injuries.

The other motorists were left in snarled traffic watching the tragedy unfold and many calling 911 trying to get the truck drivers help. “I hope somebody ain’t in that tractor. It’s burning,” one 911 caller said in a panicked voice. “It just went up in flames as I was approaching it.” More crashing explosions could be heard in the background during the 10-minute call.

While Investigators can still not confirm what caused the eastbound truck to swerve into oncoming traffic, no evidence of alcohol or drug involvement was found at the scene. On Tuesday, I-24 westbound traffic was closed at mile marker 44 during both the morning and evening rush hours, while the police investigation and cleanup efforts were underway. Eastbound traffic was also partially blocked for hours and then everything was re-opened just before 10pm Tuesday night.

Police will have to use dental records to confirm the identity of the driver of the eastbound semi, be he has been tentatively identified as 29-year-old John Greer of Nashville. The driver of the FedEx truck was identified as Michael Donley, 52, of Illinois. He had been driving FedEx items from Marietta, Ga. to Champagne, Ill. when the crash occurred.

“First and foremost, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the drivers involved in the accident on I-24 in Nashville. Safety is of the utmost importance to FedEx, and we are cooperating with the authorities as they try to determine what caused the accident,” said FedEx in a released statement.

What do you think caused the first semi-truck to cross the grassy median?