UPDATE: Car plunges 100 feet off cliff near Westside Drive - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Car plunges 100 feet off cliff near Westside Drive

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The car is retrieved Friday morning after plunging off the road. WRCBtv.com photo The car is retrieved Friday morning after plunging off the road. WRCBtv.com photo

UPDATE: Traffic is back open after it was closed during the Friday morning commute, police said a car plunged off a cliff here outside of the Bachman Tunnel.

It took crews more than three hours to pull a car 50 feet out of a ravine near tunnels that connect East Ridge to Chattanooga, on Westside drive.

Investigators said the car was traveling east on Ringgold Road when it came through the tunnel and bounced off the roundabout, over a guardrail, and then down an embankment.

"It's a downhill slope, we tend to have people come in a little too fast and not slow down for the roundabout, it's something we see happen from time to time,” said Traffic Investigator, Joe Warren.

The front passenger was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The driver and another passenger were also taken to the hospital, but are expected to be okay.

Police said speed appears to be a factor in this accident, but it's not the first one to happen in the exact spot.

Channel 3 records show there have been three major accidents with injuries in the last four years.

Chattanooga Police Department use animations during crash investigations. They said distracted driving and speed are common factors at roundabouts.

"The main thing is to come in slowly, and just come through it at a reasonable moderate speed. The second thing is to enter the roundabout, you have to yield the right away to whoever is left of you,” Warren explained.

We reached out to Chattanooga’s Department of Transportation to find out what they're doing to keep this roundabouts safe. They said they've installed warning signs to remind drivers they are approaching a roundabout and to slow down.

CDOT’s records show there is an average of one injury accident per year at the location and it is not considered a high accident area and that drivers just need to slow down.

Engineers with the Tennessee Department of Transportation are assessing the damage and will replace the guardrails.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: Chattanooga Police have identified the car involved in a crash Friday morning as a Kia Optima.

Officials say the car was traveling East on Ringgold Rd. when it came through the Bachman Tunnels and to a roundabout. The car bounced off the roundabout, over a guard rail, and then down a 50-yard embankment.

The crash happened around 3:30 a.m.

Officials say the front passenger was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The driver and a rear passenger were transported with minor injuries.


PREVIOUS STORY: A car plunged down a cliff nearly 100 feet early Friday morning, according to Chattanooga Police. The crash happened at the west end of the Bachman Tunnels that connect East Ridge to Chattanooga, near Westside Drive. The car appeared to have mis-navigated the roundabout, crashing through the guardrail.

It happened just after 3:00 a.m. Friday morning.

Officials say the car crashed and then went off a cliff.

Westside Drive is closed while officials work to clear the scene. Traffic is being diverted before the roundabout to Bachman Tunnel.

Channel 3 has a crew on scene. Stick with us for the latest developments. 

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