A Kingsport Police Department spokesperson said Fredrick Walter Benton, 79, of Waldorf, Md., died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The car’s passenger — Janice S. Bailey, 70, of Las Cruces, N.M. — suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, police said.
The wreck reportedly occurred at 3:30 p.m. at mile marker 62 on I-81.
Police said Benton was driving a Mercury Grand Marquis southbound on I-81 when he lost control of the vehicle and exited the roadway.
The car was reportedly traveling backward as it went off the shoulder of the interstate and struck a tree.
Authorities said witnesses to the accident stopped to provide assistance to both Benton and Bailey while waiting for emergency responders to arrive at the scene.
Both occupants of the car were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport for treatment.
Benton was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. Bailey was admitted for treatment.
Police said both Benton and Bailey were wearing seatbelts when the crash took place.
The investigation into the wreck is being handled by the KPD’s Traffic Unit and Patrol Division.