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Crash kills motorcyclist at I-81, I-26 interchange

From staff reports • Mar 13, 2019 at 11:20 PM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport motorcyclist has died as the result of a Wednesday evening collision with a vehicle at the interchange of Interstates 81 and 26.

According to a Kingsport Police Department news release, patrol officers responded to the scene at approximately 6:30. Due to the seriousness of the incident, the KPD Traffic Unit was called to conduct an investigation.

Police said a black 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse, driven by Richard M. Estep, 29, Church Hill was northbound on I-81 and attempting to merge to the right onto the exit ramp to westbound Interstate 26. Meanwhile, a red 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, operated by Sammy P. Fanning, 46, had exited eastbound I-26 and was attempting to merge to the left onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 via the entrance ramp.

At some point while the two vehicles were merging, they came in contact with one another, causing the motorcycle to overturn. Fanning sustained critical injuries and was transported to a hospital, where he later died. Estep was not injured as a result of the collision. Each of the vehicles involved sustained only minor damage.

The crash remains under active investigation by the Traffic Unit. As such, no additional information is available for release at this time.

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