ARLINGTON, Tenn. — The westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in Arlington were blocked for several hours following a crash that killed two Tennessee Department of Transportation contractors and left a state trooper injured.
The incident happened around 4 a.m. Wednesday near mile marker 26.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, two workers with A&A Safety, 30-year-old Justin Stafford and 22-year-old Jared Helton, both of Salyersville, Ky., were replacing reflectors in the middle of the road when they were struck and killed.
A third employee, Cody Cantrell, also of Salyersville, was injured in the crash and was hospitalized.
“In 35 years of business, we have never lost an employee,” A&A Safety owner Bill Luttmer said. “Today, we must come to terms with the loss of two valued members of our team.
“Right now, our focus is on the needs of their families during this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts, prayers, and support also go out to those injured in today’s crash.”
The trooper was injured when his patrol car was hit. He was taken to the Regional Medical Center for treatment.
“We are deeply saddened at the tragic event that claimed two young lives this morning,” TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said. “This is a stark reminder of the dangers our highway construction workers face each day as they work to better Tennessee’s transportation system. I speak for everyone at TDOT when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and co-workers of these two young men.”
WREG’s Melissa Moon was told that one lane of traffic was shut down and the trooper had his lights on when they were all hit.
Moon reported that she saw multiple law enforcement officers on the scene and an 18-wheeler off the roadway. The THP confirmed that the tractor-trailer was involved in the accident.
TDOT released a statement following the crash saying, “We are extremely saddened by the loss of two contract workers from @AandASafety1 and for the @TNHighwayPatrol officer who was injured in a work zone crash on I-40 outside Memphis this morning. Please Work with Us. Move Over- Slow down.”
Early Wednesday morning, the Tennessee Department of Transportation reported that the eastbound lanes were closed and westbound lanes open, but around 5:30 a.m. stated that had been switched. The eastbound lanes were opened and the westbound lanes were closed near mile marker 26.
All lanes were reopened around 9:30 a.m.
“I ask drivers to please pay close attention when driving through construction areas, slow down and move over when at all possible,” Commissioner Bright said. “You could literally save a life.”
The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office were both called to the scene.