"Mayhem" six-car accident on I-24 injures four, one dead - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: "Mayhem" six-car accident on I-24 injures four, one dead

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Photo courtesy WRCB viewer Shawna Tinker Photo courtesy WRCB viewer Shawna Tinker

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- A serious accident on I-24 Westbound in Chattanooga sent four people to the hospital, leaving one dead.

It happened around 10 o'clock Friday morning near the Rossville Boulevard exit. Six cars were involved. The accident snarled traffic all over the city.

One eyewitness says she was only seconds away from being in the crash. "It was mayhem for a few minutes," says Ann Eslinger, who witnessed the crash.

The immediate mayhem of the multi-car accident brought traffic on I-24 heading into downtown to a halt for more than four hours. Ann Eslinger says she was coming up on the Rossville Boulevard exit when a silver car flew past her with its emergency flashers on and lost control.

"It was obvious that her car was out of control, and spinning and swerving across all three lanes of traffic," she says. "Many cars up in front of us were either swerving to miss or being hit."

Only a few car-lengths behind what was unfolding, Eslinger slammed on her brakes to keep from hitting someone else. At the same time, she says a white pick up truck swerved and flipped multiple times.

"What apparently I saw, I thought, when the car was flipping, was some debris from that car. I did later learn that someone had been ejected from the car, so, that's been a little hard to think about that. What I saw was probably a human life and it's pretty heartbreaking."

Investigators spent a good part of their day piecing together what happened, as drivers scrambled to find another way to get where they were going.

For Eslinger, the reality of what happened is still sinking in. "Life is precious and we all need to take that into consideration. And we certainly need to take driving as a responsibility. That's something you need to really take very seriously," she says.

And as a mom who carpools on the route almost everyday, she's even more thankful to be alive. "Shaken, shaken up pretty much by that. I'll be very careful in my carpool today."

It's still not clear at this point why the woman was driving the silver car so erratically.

Chattanooga Police spokesman Nathan noted that the investigation is still ongoing and will release more information when available.

Hartwig says charges are pending.

Follow @WRCBtraffic on Twitter and download our free traffic apps for iPhone and Android for all the latest traffic information when and where it happens.

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