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Fatal Crash in Benton County

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

BENTON COUNTY, Tenn.- The Tennessee Highway Patrol along with surrounding law enforcement are working to identify the two people killed in the vehicle crash on Interstate 40 near mile marker 126 in Benton County.

According to investigators with THP, a pickup truck and a personal use school bus hit head on in the west bound lanes of I-40 around 10:30 p.m. Friday. Based on preliminary investigations, officers believe the pickup truck either crossed over the interstate median or accidentally entered on the exit ramp before hitting the school bus head on.

"Well, between it being a fatality and the amount of damage and destruction on impact it's one of the worst ones I've seen," said Ron Harris, Prime Towing Inc. "The pick up truck actually went up underneath the frame on the bus."

Investigators said there were no children on the school bus because it was in route for personal use. The impact of the two vehicles was so strong, both the bus and four door pick up truck caught fire.

The crash scene is just feet away from the exit ramp where cable barriers run parallel to the road. Some drivers told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that particular ramp can be confusing.

"The signs are too small there is only one I can see from here and they all should be wider," said driver Henry Shellnut. "It's hard to see especially because it doesn't seem to be very well lit around here.."

THP are not releasing the identities of the drivers who died until all of their family members have been notified. Both bodies were taken to the medical examiner's office for official identification.