A 22-year-old MTSU freshman was behind the wheel in Thursday morning's two-car crash that left a 21-year-old dead and others injured, police in Murfreesboro said.
Police spotted Oketa Nono Ojok driving his Nissan Maxima on West Thompson Lane shortly after 3 a.m. at a speed of more than 100 miles-per-hour and pursued the car.
The pursuit ended at West Thompson Lane and Windsor Green Drive when Ojok failed to negotiate a turn at a high rate of speed, veered into the oncoming lane of traffic and struck a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The front seat passenger in Ojok's Nissan, John “Tyler” Morrissey, a graduate of Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, died at the scene.
Ojok was critically injured in the crash and taken by Life-Flight helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The passenger in the backseat, 21-year-old Brock William Marlin, suffered minor injuries.
The driver of the pickup truck, 49-year-old Willie Barker Sr., also suffered minor injuries.
Both were transported to Middle Tennessee Medical Center.
While the cause of the crash is under investigation, officers on the scene detected alcohol use.
According to friends, Morrissey and the others in the car had been drinking at the Stampede Dance Hall and Saloon in Murfreesboro prior to the crash.
John Adams lives down the street from the dance hall, an 18-and-up establishment. He said it is “every parent's worst nightmare.”
He told News 2, “To have to pass by [the bar] at night and know that the people pouring out of the parking lot at some point heading down this road or heading out across other parts of Murfreesboro…”
Adams' son Steven was good friends with Morrissey.
Both he and his father said the Stampede is very popular with the college crowd, particularly freshmen, offering cheap drink specials like penny long neck beers from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays.
Adams said bars like the Stampeded should be more responsible about offering drink specials to people so young.
“Go after the same types of young people who sometimes end up in tragic circumstances like this.”
The manager of Stampede declined an on camera interview but said the establishment has a good relationship with the community.
When asked about Stampede, Murfreesboro police would only say they have incidents at all drinking establishments from time to time.
Charges could by filed against Ojok, the car's driver.
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