|On April 29, 2015, just prior to midnight, Kingsport Police Patrol Officers responded to westbound Interstate 26 at mile marker 4.4 (Wilcox Drive exit) in reference to a crash with injuries. Due to the severity of the injuries, the K.P.D. Traffic Squad was called to the scene. Their resultant investigation revealed the following:
A 2015 Chrysler 200, being driven by Winston Taylor Schuler, was westbound on Interstate 26 approaching the Wilcox Drive Exit. According to multiple witness statements and corroborating crash investigation, the Chrysler was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed. Mr. Schuler lost control of the vehicle allowing it to leave the left side of the roadway and enter the median. The vehicle traveled along the cable barrier for approximately 200 feet until striking a guard rail. Upon impact with the guard rail, the engine and most of the front portion of the vehicle separated from the remainder of the vehicle. The remainder of the vehicle, which included the passenger compartment, flipped and came to a rest upside down in the middle of the westbound traffic lanes.
Moments after this initial crash, a westbound 1998 Toyota 4Runner, driven by Blake A. Erickson, approached the scene. There were no street lights, and the lighting on the Chrysler had been completely disabled during the crash. Due to the dark conditions, Mr. Erickson did not see the Chrysler in the roadway, and his vehicle struck the Chrysler.
A passenger in the Chrysler, Brandon M. Cobb, was not properly restrained and was ejected through the rear window of the vehicle. Investigators are still working to determine whether he was ejected during the initial or secondary crash. All three motorists sustained serious injuries and were transported to Holston Valley Medical Center by Sullivan County E.M.S. for treatment.
Westbound I-26 was completely closed for approximately three hours but has since been reopened for traffic. The crash remains under investigation by the K.P.D. Traffic Unit with charges pending. Excessive speed, combined with alcohol and drug use, are believed to be contributing factors in the initial crash. Anyone who witnessed the actual crash, or saw the Chrysler being driven leading up to the crash, who has not yet spoken to law enforcement is asked to contact investigators at 423-224-2750.
|COLLISION VEHICLE #1 INFORMATION|
|Driver||Name||Winston Taylor Schuler|
|Age||20 Years of Age|
|Passenger||Name||Brandon M. Cobb|
|Age||20 Years of Age|
|Residency||Johnson City, TN|
|COLLISION VEHICLE #2 INFORMATION|
|Type||Sport Utility Vehicle|
|Driver||Name||Blake A. Erickson|
|Age||26 Years of Age|
|Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer
Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit