A young Cumberland County man, his 16-year-old girlfriend and her three-month old child were injured in a crash with a large farm tractor Wednesday afternoon on Hwy. 70 E between Crab Orchard and Crossville, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Two air ambulances were sent to the scene — and a third to a local helipad — after one of the choppers developed oil pressure problems as it landed in a field beside the crash scene.
The crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. at the entrance to Shaffer Quarries on Hwy. 70 E when a red Dodge Dakota pickup driven by Stephen Pelfrey, 19, of Cox Valley Rd., slammed into the rear tire of a two and a half ton tractor being driven by James Pugh, 64, Lantana Rd. Trooper Bobby Barker said the tractor had slowed to turn into the quarries' parking lot and that witnesses told him the pickup had passed a van and car moments before the crash.
A door had to be forced open to free the infant and the 16-year-old mom while Cumberland County firefighters had to extricate the driver from the pickup.
One helicopter landed in the field beside the the crash scene and airlifted the young teenager to a regional trauma center where she was treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries. Sources said that the mom was expected to be released from the hospital by the weekend.
The infant was taken by ambulance to Cumberland Medical Center where the child was checked over. The child, that was properly in a car seat, suffered only minor cuts and scratches from broken glass.
As a helicopter arrived to pickup up Pelfrey, warning lights activated and the helicopter was set down safely in the field. An ambulance then rushed Pelfrey to CMC's helipad where another helicopter arrived to transport the driver to a regional trauma center. His condition was believed to be serious but no other information was available.
A mechanic from Chattanooga was brought to the scene and Wednesday evening repaired the disabled helicopter which then returned to its base.
Barker said Pugh was not injured in the crash. Barker was assisted at the scene by Trooper Desoto. It is not known if charges will be filed in connection with the wreck.