Dunlap firefighters scramble over the wrecked cab of an overturned tractor-trailer rig, working to rescue the two inside.
UPDATE 03/15/2019 12:30 p.m.: The two men in the accident have been identified as Wenceslao Lara, 42, and Jose Luis Muniz, 30, who were driving for the Saga Trucking Company in Texas. According to that company, they are still at Erlanger Hospital, but neither man sustained serious injury.
March 14, 2019 – A tractor-trailer wrecked coming down TN 111 off Cagle Mountain this afternoon, and the extensive rescue effort blocked both lanes of the highway for over three hours, but the two men in the truck were successfully extricated and transported to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.
A spotlight was used to light the scene of the accident as night set in. EMTs stood by to receive the injured, and Griswold Wrecker Service kept the cables taut to prevent the truck sliding downhill.
About 6 p.m., the driver of the big rig lost control in a curve and took out about 100 feet of guardrail before overturning against a tall poplar. The tree crushed the cab of the truck, trapping the two males inside.Dozens of volunteer firefighters, primarily from the Dunlap Fire Department, worked to free the victims from the wreckage, sometimes in the pouring rain, and eventually in the dark. Wrecker operators delicately worked the tension on cables, to ease the pressure of the cab against the tree, but without dislodging it – which could have resulted in the whole truck sliding down the steep embankment.
The Sequatchie County Rescue Squad blocked the highway at the bottom of the mountain, and cars that initially lined up at the wreck site turned around and went back down the mountain.
EMS stood by to receive the injured men, and finally, about 9:30
p.m., firefighters were successful in freeing the two from the truck.
Traffic was backed up for over an hour, until people turned around and drove back down the mountain.
“Both of them were talking,” EMS Director Winfred Smith said. “Puckett transported them to Erlanger in Chattanooga to have them checked out.”
At this time, the victims have not been identified, and their injuries are unknown.
Highway Patrol was on scene and will likely investigate the accident.The truck took out about 100 feet of guardrail. Photo courtesy of Winfred Smith.