Head-on interstate collision kills one; closes northbound I-81

Rain Smith • Oct 12, 2010 at 5:53 AM

A head-on collision on Interstate 81 Tuesday afternoon killed a Blountville woman and closed both northbound lanes.

The wreck occurred about 3 p.m. near mile marker 70. According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Ken Wright, a 1998 Ford was traveling in the outside lane of southbound traffic. It veered to the left, bumping an SUV that was traveling in the inside lane, then continued into the median.

The car crossed the entire grass median and went into northbound traffic, where it struck a tractor-trailer head on. The driver of the car was killed instantly. She was identified late Tuesday as Vickie L. Todd, 56, of Neal Drive in Blountville. Todd was wearing a seatbelt, according to a THP report.

The driver of the truck, which was transporting candy, was identified as Shelby R. Woodell, 61, of Harriman, Tenn. Woodell was not injured.

No charges or citations were issued in the wreck.

The accident scene forced the closure of northbound I-81 between Exits 69 and 74. Along with the car and tractor-trailer involved, two other tractor-trailers were blocked in by the wreck. The drivers of the southbound SUV and another tractor-trailer who witnessed the accident also stopped to provide statements to police.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office directed northbound interstate traffic off of Exit 69 and onto Highway 394. Along with the THP and SCSO, Sullivan County EMS and the Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.

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