KPD e-News Release: 4 Vehicle Crash Injures 3-Shuts Down Interstate 81 for 7 hours

Kingsport Police Department

Dale Phipps, Chief of Police

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

http://KingsportTN.gov/City-Services/Police-Departmentwww.KingsportPDBlog.com

NEWS RELEASE
SUBJECT: 4 Vehicle Crash Injures 3—Shuts Down Interstate 81 for 7 hours
DATE: September 11, 2022
CASE #: 22-017914
GENERAL NARRATIVE
On September 10, 2022 at approximately 12:40 PM, Kingsport Police Patrol Officers responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 81 near exit 63 (Airport Parkway) in Kingsport. Due to the serious and complex nature of the crash, the K.P.D. Traffic Unit was called to the scene to investigate. Their subsequent investigation determined the following:

A dark blue 2019 Ram 1500 pickup was northbound on I-81. Meanwhile, a white 2018 Ford Transit van, a white Freightliner tractor-trailer, and a white Chevrolet 1500 pickup were all traveling southbound on I-81. For reasons still under investigation, the Ram pickup crossed the grass median and began traveling north directly into southbound traffic. The Ram pickup struck the side of the Ford van and then the front of the Freightliner tractor-trailer.

The Chevrolet pickup then ran off the right side of the road to avoid colliding with the other vehicles, but ended up traveling up an embankment, striking a tree, and rolling over. The Ram pickup caught on fire which further damaged it. The fire then spread to the double trailers (owned by FedEx) which were being pulled by the Freightliner.

The driver and passenger of the Freightliner sustained suspected minor injuries and were transported by Sullivan County EMS to an area hospital for treatment. The driver of the Ram pickup, Jonathan Alexander Merritt (29 years of age of Salisbury, MD), sustained suspected major injuries and was also transported by Sullivan County EMS to an area hospital for treatment. As of the latest information received, he remains hospitalized in critical condition.

The crash resulted in the complete closure of southbound I-81 and partial closure of northbound I-81 for approximately seven hours. Temporary detours were put in place by TDOT during the closure. By 8:00 PM, all lanes were back open, and normal traffic patterns had resumed.

This crash remains under open and active investigation by the K.P.D. Traffic Unit. As such, no further details are available for release at this time.

COLLISION VEHICLE INFORMATION #1
Make Ram
Model 1500
Year 2019
Type Full-size Pickup
Color Dark Blue
Damage Disabling Damage
Driver Name Jonathan Alexander Merritt
Age 29 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/White
Residency Salisbury, MD
Injuries Suspected Major Injury
COLLISION VEHICLE INFORMATION #2
Make Ford
Model Transit
Year 2018
Type Large Van
Color White
Damage Functional Damage
Driver Name Ariel Alberto Garza
Age 50 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Hispanic
Residency Brownsville, TX
Injuries No Injury
Passenger Name Adolfo Aguilar Banda
Age 61 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Hispanic
Residency Dallas, TX
Injuries No Injury
Passenger Name Florencio Gonzalez
Age 41 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Hispanic
Residency Starr, TX
Injuries No Injury
Passenger Name Luis Angel Nunez
Age 22 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Hispanic
Residency Monte Alto, TX
Injuries No Injury
Passenger Name Norge Zamora Vazquez
Age 31 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/White
Residency Houston, TX
Injuries No Injury
COLLISION VEHICLE INFORMATION #3
Make Freightliner
Model Tractor-Trailer
Year 2017
Type Tractor-Trailer
Color White
Damage Disabling Damage
Driver Name Leandr Del Rosario Leon
Age 41 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Hispanic
Residency Philadelphia, PA
Injuries Suspected Minor Injury
Passenger Name Leon Tyrese Goode, Jr.
Age 30 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Black
Residency Philadelphia, PA
Injuries Suspected Minor Injury
COLLISION VEHICLE INFORMATION #4
Make Chevrolet
Model 1500
Year 2020
Type Pickup
Color White
Damage Disabling Damage
Driver Name Max Alfonso Hidalgo
Age 53 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/White
Residency Fort Bend, TX
Injuries No Injury
Passenger Name Darren Dewayne Taplin, Jr.
Age 28 Years of Age
Gender/Race Male/Black
Residency Centreville, MS
Injuries No Injury
RELEASING OFFICER
Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-343-9749 (FAX)

ThomasMPatton

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