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Saturday proves to be deadly day on Knoxville roads

The weekend was a particularly deadly one on Nashville-area roads. Two separate crashes claimed five lives on Saturday.

The first fatal car accident occurred after 6 a.m. on Middlebrook Pike near Weisbarger Road. A Toyota Camry apparently entered the center median and hit a tree, killing the 24-year-old driver and his 17-year-old passenger.

The second accident, which happened about 20 minutes later on Wears Valley Road, was perhaps even more horrific. In that accident, the driver of a Ford Ranger crossed the center line and collided with a Honda Civic head-on.

A firefighter happened to pass by on the way to work and encountered the accident, which he called a "scene of devastation." Most of the victims had to be extricated from the vehicles, a process that took over an hour and 15 minutes in all. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the 26-year-old driver of the Honda was killed in the accident, as were two of his backseat passengers, ages 57 and 52, respectively. All were from out of state.

The driver of the Ranger and a front seat passenger in the Honda were airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The driver of the Ranger was reportedly listed in critical condition.

It's not entirely clear what caused the crash, but alcohol is not believed to be a factor, police say. Citations and possible criminal charges are pending against the driver of the Ranger, who is the son of the Blount County Highway superintendent.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, "Three killed in head-on collision in Sevier County," Lance Coleman, July 7, 2012

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