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Tennessee State Troopers Save Man in Fiery Crash

Thursday, June 14, 2012 | 08:38am

NASHVILLE --- Two Tennessee Highway Patrolmen and several good Samaritans teamed up to save a Livingston man from a fiery crash on Highway 111 in Overton County on Tuesday morning. 

Trooper Kendall Grasty was conducting stationary radar on the northbound lanes of Highway 111 at the six mile marker when a motorist pulled over to report an erratic driver traveling southbound. After obtaining a description of the vehicle, Trooper Grasty attempted to locate the suspect.

Within minutes, Trooper Grasty observed flying debris ahead from what appeared to be a crash around the two mile marker. Upon approaching the scene, he discovered a 2005 Nissan Sentra in flames and the driver still in the vehicle. An off-duty State Trooper, Andrew Goolsby, was already on the scene and attempting to drag the unconscious driver out of the vehicle.  Trooper Goolsby had been traveling ahead of the suspect vehicle and noticed the crash in his rearview mirror.  He turned around to assist.

Due to the flames on the driver’s side, Trooper Goolsby was struggling to pull the driver out of the passenger side door. Meanwhile, Trooper Grasty retrieved his handheld fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the flames on the driver’s side to assist in the rescue. Several citizens then arrived and helped the trooper pull the man out of the vehicle before it was fully engulfed in flames.

The driver, James Michael Brown, 53, survived but suffered injuries in the crash.  He was not wearing a seat belt and appeared to be under the influence.  He was flown to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. Charges are pending.

The preliminary investigation reveals that the crash occurred at approximately 8:35 a.m. on Highway 111 southbound at the intersection of Highway 293 in Overton County. It appears Brown was traveling southbound on Highway 111, when he veered off the right side of the roadway, traveled into a ditch-line and struck an embankment.  The vehicle then went airborne near the Marathon gas station entrance, clipping the rear end of another vehicle, and continued to travel 117 feet in the air before coming to final rest.    

“The action of these two State Troopers – both on-and-off duty – demonstrate their dedication and commitment to this community,” THP District Captain R.C. Christian said, just shy of two months at the helm. “They would say that they were just doing their job. However, it makes me proud that they would trade another man’s life for their own without hesitation.”

The Tennessee Department of Safety’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public.  The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.  




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