UPDATE: Teenage girl dies in McMinn County wreck
THP troopers say a 13-year-old girl from Niota has died following a head-on crash between a pickup truck and an SUV.
A 13-year-old girl from Niota has died following a wreck between a pickup truck and an SUV on Monday, according to a report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Troopers said a Chevy Blazer was traveling eastbound on State Highway 68 and tried to go around traffic by going into the westbound lane on TN-68 in McMinn County. The driver of the Chevy, Gregory Branson, saw a pickup truck and swerved to the left and over corrected causing the car to roll over, according to the report.
Troopers said the driver of the pickup truck, Bruce Layman Jr., couldn't stop in time before hitting the SUV.
After colliding into each other, the SUV slid into a guard rail. Both the driver and right rear passenger were ejected during the rollover. Others in the area pulled the front seat passenger out of the car. The teen who died, Mazzie Johnson, was sitting in the driver side rear passenger seat.
"I really hate to hear it for any parent because if you have a kid, you know, just the thought of that loss is unbearable," Brian Hanley, a parent said.
On Tuesday, Mazzie's school, Niota Elementary, had extra counselors on campus to talk with kids, faculty, and staff. She was a 7th grade student at the school.
Director of Schools for McMinn County, Mickey Blevins, said Mazzie wasn't in school on Monday, which is the day the crash happened.
It's not clear what the relationship between the driver and Mazzie was, but THP troopers said the other passenger in the back seat with her was a family friend.
"I think it's a sad situation and pray for their families. I just know that God will touch their families," Hanley said.
Pieces of Monday's wreck are still on TN-68 near County Road 296.
"It's sad anytime somebody dies, but it really hits home to us when young people, just now becoming a teenager, dies in a crash," Sgt. Alan Bailey with THP said.
Bailey said two passengers and the driver in Mazzie's car were hurt. Some are in critical condition. As for the driver of the pick up truck, THP said he suffered minor injuries.
"Don't be in such a hurry when you're out riding. You're going to get to your destination when you get there," Sgt. Bailey said.
Charges are pending for the driver of the Chevy. Troopers believe he may have been on drugs.
None of the passengers in the SUV were wearing seat belts, but troopers don't think it would have made a difference.