UPDATE: Witness recounts trying to save girl who died in crash T - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Witness recounts trying to save girl who died in crash Tuesday

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Photo courtesy of TDOT SmartWay Traffic. Photo courtesy of TDOT SmartWay Traffic.
Photo courtesy of WRCB viewer. Photo courtesy of WRCB viewer.
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Derek Eledge sits at his desk, but right now, work is not on his mind.

"As soon as I got home last night, I went straight to my children, loved on them and held them a little bit more tight," Derek Eledge, who witnessed Tuesday's fatal crash, said.

He's hugging his children, knowing another family is missing one of their own.

"What I’m feeling today, the grief and the heartache that I’m feeling today, is nothing compared to what I know that family is going through today," Eledge urged.

Eledge was driving home from work Tuesday when a car, trying to merge onto the interstate just vehicles in front of him, clipped a semi-truck, which sent it spinning across all four lanes of traffic, and under another semi.

Police said a girl who was not wearing a seatbelt was thrown from the car.

Eledge and about four other people tried to save her.

Eledge is a former Channel 3 photojournalist. During his time behind the camera, he saw a lot of tragic scenes, but he says this is one of the worst.

"She had her pink shoes on and what looked like a school uniform. You know,” Eledge said shaking his head, “Golly, it's tough."

They performed CPR until first responders arrived, but the young girl did not survive.

"One of the little boys kept crying out my sister, my sister, my sister," Eledge recalled.

It leaves him speechless and clearly emotional. He wishes he could have done more.

"Sorry that we couldn't save her because that's the guilt now that we bear,” Eledge said, “That we couldn't save her. That's the nightmare I now have."

However, he said his nightmare is nothing compared to what the girl’s family is going through.

Eledge said he is thankful for the first responders who helped. He hopes he can meet the family and attend the girl's funeral to give his condolences in person. He wants them to know he, along with the other volunteers, did everything they could.

For now, he tells Channel 3 he's saying a lot of prayers. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Three vehicles were involved in a deadly crash on Interstate 24 Tuesday afternoon, according to Chattanooga police.

All three vehicles were traveling east on I-24, with the first vehicle, a 2004 Honda Civic, entered the interstate from Market Street, attempting to merge onto I-24.

That driver changed lanes too closely to a second vehicle (a semi), and then spun across all of the driving lanes on I-24, ending up under another semi.

A juvenile in the Honda who was unrestrained was ejected and died from injuries at the crash scene.

The other passengers in the Honda were transported to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.

No charges expected to be filed at this time.


PREVIOUS STORY: All lanes have reopened after a deadly crash on I-24 East closed the entire roadway Tuesday evening.

The crash happened shortly before 5:00 p.m. near mile marker 178.

Details of what led to the crash have not been released at this time, but Chattanooga police say a car and two tractor-trailers were involved.

Police confirm, at least one person was killed.

The condition of the others involved is unknown.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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