MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two men, a father and stepson, and a woman died Tuesday morning in a crash on Interstate 65 North in Millersville in what Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is calling one of the worst wrecks its seen in years.
“This crash behind me rates right up there with the worst that I have seen in my nearly 20 years as a trooper. They don’t get any easier when you see these crashes,” said Lt. Bill Miller.
According to the THP, 45-year-old Mary Dawson, of Avalon, Kentucky, lost control for unknown reasons in a curve the Bethel Road exit at 6:20 a.m.
PHOTOS: 3 killed in crash on I-65 North
Dawson, who was driving southbound in her 2005 Nissan Altima, crossed the median and hit a black Buick LaCrosse head-on in northbound lanes.
The impact caused Dawson’s car to flip over the Buick and come to a rest in the median.
The 45-year-old was thrown from the car and killed instantly. THP said she was wearing a seat belt at the time.
Both the driver and a passenger inside the Buick were also killed instantly in the crash. The THP identified them as 68-year-old Gerald Swank and his 36-year-old stepson Michael Walz, both of Old Hickory, Tennessee. They were also wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Metro Schools confirmed to News 2 Wednesday that Dawson was a Spanish teacher at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet. Crisis counselors will be on hand Wednesday to work with students.
Swank’s wife and Walz’s mother spoke to News 2 Tuesday night after they tragically lost their lives.
“I called my husband; he didn’t answer his phone. I called my son; he didn’t answer his phone,” Cathy Swank recalled. “When [they] pulled up at my work and the two state troopers got out of th car, I knew it was bad.”
Swank said to get news like this, that she’s lost them both, is “really hard.”
“I’m used to having [my husband] come home every night with me, and my son just got this new job and he was doing really good,” she told News 2.
She said knows of that stretch of road, and coming down off the hill where the crash happened is really scary.
“It’s a stretch of road they need to concentrate on and fix. Do something to it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s lost people on that corner,” Swank added.
Authorities told News 2 a tractor-trailer was also involved after the driver reportedly could not avoid hitting the Nissan. They consider it a secondary crash.
The investigation is ongoing.
In 2012, four people were killed in a crash on the same stretch of road. According to data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were no other fatal crashes in the area until Tuesday.