Two killed in I-40 Westbound crash near Cedar Bluff, police say | UPDATE

By: staff
By: staff
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police have released the names of those involved.

20-year-old Francisco Javier Rodriguez was driving the Honda Accord that hit the group on the side of the road.

21-year-old Joshua Hensley and 20-year-old Jake Jennings were killed.

19-year-old Brittany Branch was also hit. She is in critical condition at UT Medical Center.

Officers say Jennings had pulled over to help Hensley and Branch.

Friends and family members gathered Sunday night to remember their loved ones.

"There's nothing we can do to bring him back, but what we can do it commemorate his spirit, it soul, and that's all we can do is have his name live on inside of all of us," says Victoria Chavez, Jake's step-sister.

Rodriguez was charged with two counts of Vehicular Homicide, one count of Vehicular Assault, Driving Without a License, No Insurance, and Failure to Maintain Control of his Vehicle.

He is being held on a $525,000 bond.

Police say two people are dead following a mid-morning crash Sunday on I-40 Westbound, just past the Cedar Bluff exit.

Sergeant Mike McCarter says, "Officers responded to several 911 reports of pedestrians struck on the interstate. Calls ranged from one pedestrian up to three pedestrians struck."

McCarter says the group was standing on the side of the road and may have been there as a result of a vehicle breakdown.

For reasons unknown at this time, the vehicle that hit them lost control and swerved to the right.

Two people were pronounced dead at the scene. A third person was taken to U.T. Medical Center.

Two right hand lanes were closed as emergency crews worked on scene.

No names have been released.

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