NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a crash Monday evening in Nolensville that left a senior at Ravenwood High School dead.
THP investigators said 18-year-old Timothy McGowan was traveling east on Rocky Fork Road just after 6:30 p.m. when he attempted to pass the SUV in front of him.
As he did, McGowan's Toyota Camry sideswiped the SUV, driven by 46-year-old Michael Q. Jones.
The collision caused both vehicles to veer off the road and McGowan's to flip into a ditch.
McGowan was killed and Jones, of Goodlettsville, injured.
Nolensville Police Chief Paul Rigsby told News 2 an officer from his department was following McGowan at the time of the crash but believes the officer was "totally justified" in doing so.
Chief Rigsby told News 2, "I fully stand by that police officer and his actions, we feel like he was totally justified."
Rigsby said his department received a tip minutes before and McGowan was reportedly involved in a hit-and-run accident on nearby Clovercroft Road.
Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning said that in that accident, McGowan ran through a fence and then fled the scene.
An officer later spotted McGowan and pursued him. The crash that took McGowan's life occurred less than 60 seconds later.
Browning said, "It's very unfortunate that a man who was getting ready to graduate, lost his life, due to the fact that apparently he was fleeing a police vehicle, and there is reason to believe he may have been drinking at the time."
Alcohol and drug tests are still pending, and police are investigating to see if speed was also a factor.
The THP said both drivers were wearing their seatbelts.
The investigation is ongoing.
McGowan transferred to Ravenwood from Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville earlier this year.
McGowan was set to graduate with his senior class Saturday morning.
Carol Birdsong, of Williamson County Schools, said,"Ravenwood has lost three members of its senior class. At graduation on Saturday their will be flowers placed on the stage in memory of those students."
Tuesday, grief counselors were on hand for students and staff at Ravenwood High School.