Driver in fiery wreck on I-40 suspected of driving drunk;

Driver in fiery wreck on I-40 suspected of driving drunk; charges pending

Posted:
The wreckage of the van after the collision (Courtesy: John Messner) The wreckage of the van after the collision (Courtesy: John Messner)
I-40 was shut down for more than an hour while crews cleared the scene. I-40 was shut down for more than an hour while crews cleared the scene.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Charges are pending against the driver of a van that crossed into opposing traffic on I-40 Friday and landed on another car, sending five people to the hospital.

Investigators said that according to the preliminary investigation and witness statements, driver Oliver Butler, 64, of Rockwood, was driving west in his GMC van when he swerved suddenly and hit the median on Friday evening.

His car then became airborne and landed on top of a 2005 Mercedes SUV traveling eastbound with a family of four inside.

The van then overturned and caught fire.

Witnesses pulled Butler out of the burning van and said they could smell alcohol coming off of him. Officers also found multiple beer cars inside and outside of the van.

Butler along with the driver of the SUV, Michelle Whittlet, 37, and passengers Bryan Whittlet, 42, Megan Whittlet, 9, and Luke Whittlet, 8, all of Simpsonville, Ky, were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for their injuries.

As of Monday morning, Butler was in critical condition at the hospital. Bryan, Megan and Luke Whittlet were all in stable condition and Michelle Whittlet had been released from the hospital.

Charges are pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.