Interstate Crash Kills 1, Several Injured

Riceville, McMinn County (WVLT) - A group of people from Louisiana traveling in a passenger van that crashed in McMinn County, leaving one person dead, were on their way to a vacation in Pigeon Forge.

It happened just after 6:30 Monday morning on the northbound side of I-75 near Riceville.

The lanes were closed for several hours.

Officials say the driver, 51-year-old Ricky Lapine, Jr., reached down for a drink, ran off the road and struck a guardrail.

He was wearing a seatbelt.

Forty-five-year-old Sheryl Lapine died, she was not wearing a seatbelt.

Many others were injured including Ricky Lapine, Jr., Devan Peterson, Nicholas Bruno and Wanda Bruno.

No word yet on where they were taken or the extent of their injuries, but officials say three people were ejected from the van.

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