By Michael R. Moser
An elderly Rhea County man was identified by the Tennessee Highway Patrol as the person who lost his life in a two-vehicle crash on State Hwy. 68 near the Rhea County line Tuesday morning.
THP Trooper Sgt. Bill Miller said late Wednesday afternoon that charges are pending in connection with the crash.
The near head-on crash occurred around 7 a.m. when a 2005 Ford 5LM driven by Jeffery C. Hensley, 45, Lenoir City, and a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Adrian Smith, 38, of Clarkrange crashed. The victim, Lonis C. Hensley, 83, of Dayton, TN, was identified as the father of Jeffery Hensley.
According to the THP report, the pickup truck for unknown reasons crossed left of the center line. The report states that it appeared to the driver of the car that the pickup truck driver "appeared to be leaving the roadway."
Hensley reacted by swerving his car to the wrong side of the road. About the same time the pickup driver "maneuvered back to his side of the road where both vehicles impacted," Miller's email stated.
Three Cumberland County Emergency Services ambulances along with the Cumberland County Fire Department responded to the scene. The sheriff's department dispatched sheriff's deputies to assist with traffic control.
Hwy. 68 was closed for about one hour and reopened to one lane for an additional 40 minutes while rescue workers and troopers finished their tasks.
The crash is being investigated by Troopers Michael Morgan and Jeremy Newcombe.