Battery company identifies driver who died in I-75 crash, issues

Battery company identifies driver who died in I-75 crash, issues statement

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Superior Battery Mfg. Co., Inc. says Tim Holt died in the crash. (source: Bonnie Abernathy) Superior Battery Mfg. Co., Inc. says Tim Holt died in the crash. (source: Bonnie Abernathy)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

RUSSELL SPRINGS, Ky. (WATE) - A battery company whose driver died in a fiery crash on Interstate 75 in Campbell County Wednesday has issued a statement identifying the driver and offering condolences.

Previous story: 1 killed, 3 injured in fiery Campbell County crash on I-75

The accident was reported just after 3 p.m. Wednesday around mile marker 133. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says a northbound tractor trailer hauling batteries crossed the median, hitting an SUV and another tractor trailer that was hauling oxidizers.

Jay Muncy has been Campbell County's EMA director for the past eight years and responds to every crash involving a tractor trailer. He says this crash was like no other he'd seen.

“It was a pretty horrific crash to be what it was. Everything was on fire and fire was over a large area,” said Muncy.

According to THP, a tractor trailer carrying batteries owned by Superior Battery Manufacturing Company was traveling northbound when it crossed the median, went through the cable rail and hit another tractor trailer hauling oxidizers. This truck was owned by R & L Transfer.  Kentucky-based Superior Battery Mfg. Co., Inc. says driver Tim Holt died in the crash.

"All of the management and staff of Superior Battery are devastated by the tragic news of Tim Holt's death. Tim was a great person and a driver for our company for over 15 years. He was highly thought of by everyone. Words cannot explain the grief we feel in the loss of our friend and associate. We would ask everyone to keep Deanna and all of Tim's family in your thoughts and prayers," the company said in a statement.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

According to TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi the cable barriers are meant to restrain passenger vehicles not tractor trailers traveling 70 mph.

“If you put a guardrail there or if you put a concrete barrier wall, the odds are nothing would have been able to stop that tractor trailer,” said Nagi.

The trucks were carting hazardous materials. Evacuations were called for three hours after the crash. Muncy says the fire destroyed the manifests so he didn't know to what the trucks were hauling the placards were also moved around in the crash.

“One of the placards were showing a radiation placard and one was showing a flammable. We have to assume the worst at that point and as soon as we got on scene and saw that we called for hazmat team to come,” said Muncy.

He says steps were taken to evacuate but the fire was out before evacuations took place.  Muncy says right after the accident close by residents and bystanders were told to shelter in place, close their windows and stay inside or leave.

He says hazmat clean up companies are still testing soil to make sure the area is clean and safe. Muncy says the tractor trailer companies after have hazmat clean up insurance and are require to pay for the clean-up cost.

It is not paid for at the local level.

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