Bon Aqua man killed in SR 840 wreck in Fairview - WKRN News 2

Bon Aqua man killed in SR 840 wreck in Fairview

Posted: Updated: Jan 17, 2013 03:45 PM CST
Richard Deslauriers, 61, was killed Wednesday when he lost control of his Jeep on State Route 840 in Fairview. Richard Deslauriers, 61, was killed Wednesday when he lost control of his Jeep on State Route 840 in Fairview.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will examine a stretch of State Route 840 in Williamson County after a driver was killed after he lost control of his vehicle and crashed down a ravine.

The crash happened around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning near Highway 100 in Fairview.

The driver, Franklin businessman Richard Deslauriers, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deslauriers, a father of three, would've turned 62 on Friday.  He was a master carpenter and a bee keeper who produced his own organic honey.

Family members say he had left his home in Hickman County around 5 a.m. and was on his way to work in Franklin when the crash occurred.

A Tennessee Department of Transportation worker discovered Deslauriers' Jeep Wrangler off an 80-foot ravine while he was checking a nearby bridge for ice.

State troopers say the bridge at mile marker 11 near the crash scene was icy and slick.

Authorities suspect Deslauriers lost control on the bridge, causing his Jeep to spin out of control and down the embankment.

Deslauriers wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected.  It took crews four hours to get him out of his vehicle and up the ravine.

While investigators say icy conditions were a factor in the crash, some question whether a guard rail extending from the bridge might have kept his vehicle from exiting the roadway.

Others question if a gap under the other lane of traffic could be blocked off.

"I don't know if there was a guard rail up here if it would have helped him any or not," Lt. Steve Dunning with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office told Nashville's News 2 Thursday, adding, "[I'm] not sure how far the guard rail could have come out but it wouldn't have hurt."

TDOT officials say they will look at the stretch of road to see if improvements are warranted.

"There are specifications for guardrail that are related to the steepness of the slope, and what's called the ‘clear zone.'  The clear zone is 35 feet, which is what's deemed a ‘reasonable' distance for a motorist to recover if they've left the road," spokesperson BJ Doughty wrote in an email to Nashville's News 2.  "The area in question is not steep until you are much further down the slope towards the bridge piers."

Despite the icy conditions Wednesday, Doughty said they are still going to look at the location.

She continued, "One of our construction project supervisors looked at it [Thursday], and the next step is to have a traffic engineer and someone from our safety office go take a look. We'll let them examine it and make a final recommendation."

"That is good for them to come out and see if it can make a difference maybe," Lt. Dunning added.

Family members don't blame anyone for the crash and said they are pleased TDOT is willing to examine the roadway to make sure what happened to Deslauriers doesn't happen to anyone else.

TDOT says Wednesday's crash is the first fatality on the newly opened stretch of State Route 840.

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