KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- A series of wrecks along westbound Interstate 40 in west Knoxville Thursday morning claimed one woman's life, sent another man to the hospital, backed up traffic near the Cedar Bluff exit for hours.
The first crash happened just before 4:30 a.m. between I-140 and Lovell Rd. A witness told officers that a Toyota Scion was speeding down the Interstate when it almost rear-ended a tractor-trailer. The driver, Derek Morgan, swerved to avoid the semi, the witness continued, and hit a concrete median on the left side of the road.
The car flipped and ejected Morgan. He was taken to UT Medical Center with what were described as serious, but not life-threatening injuries. There was no one else in the car at the time.
Investigators said Morgan apparently was not wearing a seat belt at the time and they believe alcohol was a factor. Due to injuries sustained in the accident, he was issued a misdemeanor citation for DUI.
While officers were still working the first incident, a Nissan Rogue struck the rear end of a tanker truck not far from the scene of the first wreck. The tractor-trailer was slowing for traffic, which was still backed up from the original crash.
The SUV's driver, Lisa Berfield, was taken to Turkey Creek Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. There was nobody else in the Nissan and the driver of the tractor trailer wasn't hurt.
None of the contents of the tanker truck were spilled or leaked.
A final crash was reported at 8 a.m. on I-40 near the Bridgewater Road exit.