Signal Mountain's police chief says it's a miracle an 18-year-old driver is alive after a serious crash Monday morning.

It happened at Taft Highway and James Boulevard intersection.

“It's just another instance of people out here drinking and driving and how quickly things can go bad,” said Chief Mike Williams.

Williams says Jarren Nanez-Radden was driving from Marion County, heading into town around 1:52 a.m. when he lost control. Williams says the 18-year-old hit an EPB utility pole then crashed into the Signal Mountain welcome sign.
“He would've had to just run off the road,” Williams said. “There wasn't any indication that he hit anyone else.”

Williams says based on early estimates, Nanez-Radden was going about 60 miles per hour when he crashed. He says the speed limit on the stretch of road Nanez-Radden was traveling is 45 miles per hour, but eventually drops down to 35 miles per hour.

According to the police report, the Nissan Maxima Nanez-Radden was driving was flipped on its side when officers arrived. It says the young driver was trapped inside but was not pinned down. Officers noted seeing smoke coming from the car and decided to him out from rear window of the vehcile, which was already broken out from the crash.

The utility pole Nanez-Radden hit was split in half and only supported by its wires.

It took EPB crews an hour or so to replace the pole, while James Boulevard was closed off to drivers.

“Luckily it was before rush hour traffic started. It could have been a whole lot worse if there was more traffic on the road,” said Williams.

According to the police report, Nanez-Radden took a sobriety test at the crash site and another at the Hamilton County jail. The first was over .08 and the second was .09.   

Nanez-Radden was charged with DUI and underage drinking.

Chief Williams says his team can only hope this will be a wakeup call for all drivers.

“Unfortunately you still have people that drink and drive and when they do this type of thing happens,” he said.