KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two people died in a major crash in Knoxville Tuesday evening. U.S. Marshals had attempted to arrest the driver of the car shortly before the crash.
A THP preliminary report released Wednesday revealed new information about a fatal crash near the intersection of Chapman Highway and Hendron Chapel Road.
According to the report, a Saturn was attempting to evade Blount County U.S Marshal Joint Task Force Officers just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday. It was traveling north in the southbound lanes when it swerved to avoid another vehicle, struck a different car, and crashed into a utility pole.
Both occupants were ejected from the vehicle and later pronounced dead. THP identified the driver as 30-year-old Tyler Coy Smelcer and the passenger as 31-year-old Ashley Marie Warren.
U.S. Marshal David G. Jolley said that the Smoky Mountain Fugitive Task Force attempted to serve a drug-related arrest warrant for Smelcer in the parking lot of Food City in Seymour shortly before the crash.
Officers had lost sight of Smelcer after he left the parking lot and drove onto backstreets. Jolley said they next saw the car enter Chapman Highway and begin driving in an aggressive manner.
The task force officers chose not to pursue Smelcer at that point due to the risk to the public, Jolley said. U.S. Marshals were not present in the location of the crash and did not see the crash, he added.
The two occupants of the other car involved were injured. A third car suffered minor damage from the debris, THP said.
The fatal crash blocked lanes of Chapman Highway for several hours Tuesday evening while emergency personnel responded to the scene.
Northbound lanes were blocked while crews responded to the scene.
EDITORS NOTE: Tennessee Highway Patrol’s preliminary report included a misspelled name that was featured in a previous version of this article. It has since been updated.