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Investigators say tire malfunction caused Jefferson County crash

The community is still mourning after a tragic accident on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County, Tennessee, claimed the life of eight and injured at least 12 more. As loved ones heal, investigators are working to piece together exactly what happened to cause this fatal chain reaction accident.

The accident involved a church bus carrying passengers back from a Christian festival, a tractor-trailer and a SUV. Six people on the bus were killed, along with the driver of the tractor-trailer and a passenger in the Chevrolet Tahoe.

According to the News Sentinel, a total of 14 people were taken to the hospital after the crash. However, the front seat passenger and driver of the Tahoe were discharged. A number of the bus passengers remained in serious and critical conditions.

At this point, investigators are looking into a tire malfunction as the possible cause of the accident. According to investigators, when the left front tire failed, the eastbound bus collided with the tractor-trailer in the westbound lane.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Miller, it appears the bus made contact with the truck's 100 gallon diesel fuel tank. This would explain the fire that erupted.

It is important to note that while there are cable barriers in place along this section of Interstate 40 to stop vehicles from crossing over into the opposing lanes on the interstate, the 40,000 pound bus had no problem going right through this barrier, Miller said.

Overall, this accident is just tragic. The hope is that investigators will be able to determine why the tire malfunctioned and that this knowledge will be used to prevent similar accidents in the future.


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