Fatal Cleveland crash may be attributed to traffic in another wreck
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
The crash that killed an 11-year-old girl Tuesday in Cleveland was a secondary crash in the construction zone around exit 20.
Makenzie Biddwell, 11, was rushed to TC Thompson Children's Hospital by ambulance where she later died. Her father suffered minor injuries.
"When our responders arrived they found an 11-year-old female patient on the roadway. That patient had suffered critical injuries that were life-threatening," said Stan Clark of Bradley County EMS.
Troopers say her father lost control of the car as he tried to stop for traffic. The passenger side of his truck hit the rear of a tractor trailer.
"Coincidentally there an earlier crash, there was a construction zone, and then we had the serious crash later afterwards," Clark said.
"When traffic cues up like that, that's when people get hurt," said TDOT Spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn. "A lot of times there are secondary crashes that are a lot worse than the crash that started the jam in the first place."
Flynn said statistics have shown that secondary crashes are usually worse than the initial crash.
According to the state, there's been 43 crashes in the construction zone around exit 20 since work began in August 2013. By comparison, there were 28 wrecks in that two mile stretch (MM19-21) from Sept. 2011-July 2013).
Flynn said the construction zones are well marked and crews only work at night to help avoid crashes. But workers have been working on the overpass during the day.
Construction on that area of roadway is expected to wrap-up in November with a new six-lane bridge and new entrance and exit ramps on I-75.