UPDATE: Seventy-four inmates were stuck on the side of the road Friday morning, when their transport van got a flat tire. The Bradley County Sheriff's Office said two school buses were carrying inmates to state prisons on I-75 south.

Both the Bradley County and Hamilton County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene. The inmates were put on another bus, than escorted to state prisons.

“You had some on that bus that are going to serve 6 months to 5, 10, 20 year sentences,” said Sheriff Eric Watson.

Sheriff Eric Watson said it has never happened in Bradley County before. A bus full of inmates stuck on the side of the interstate after the bus they were riding in got a flat. “One of those things, sometimes a blowout happens.”

Earlier this week the state refused to certify the Bradley County Jail because of overcrowding. These 74 county inmates were selected to transfer into state prisons. A few miles into their transfer, the driver suddenly pulled off into the truck inspection station.

“Hamilton County Sheriff's Office came and assisted us. We usually send about 10 deputies with that amount of inmates. They are all shackled with leg-cuffs, hand cuffs and a belt.”

There was a trail of deputies with the bus, alarming people during the morning commute. Sheriff Watson said they were there for security purposes during transport.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: A bus carrying 60 male inmates from Bradley County Friday morning blew a front tire and was forced along Interstate 75 south.

The inmates were being transferred from the Bradley County jail in a measure to address the overcrowding issue noted in last week's jail inspections by the Tennessee Department of Corrections last week.

A second transport of 14 female inmates was unaffected. Both groups of inmates were being delivered to two of the state's prisons.

The tire blew out shortly after 6:00am, and deputies from both Bradley County and Hamilton County were brought in to help supervise the transfer of the inmates from the disabled bus to a new bus to continue their commute.

The transfer from the first vehicle to the second was completed about 7:22am, according to Cpt. James Bradford of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.


PREVIOUS STORY: A prisoner transport bus spent several hours on the side on Interstate 75 early Friday morning after blowing a front tire.

The driver was able to maintain control of the bus and bring it to a safe stop, Channel 3 has learned.

The bus ended up being parked at the rest area on southbound I-75 near Ooltewah with several police cars around the vehicle.

The prisoners were transferred to another vehicle shortly after the mechanical mishap and resumed transport.

Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Bradford says that the details regarding the inmate transport will not be released until this afternoon, once the transport is complete, citing officer safety.