Wrong-way driver flees after fatal crash in Smyrna - WKRN News 2

Wrong-way driver flees after fatal crash in Smyrna

Posted: Updated: July 22, 2013 8:08 PM
Ruben Prado-Pena. Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Ruben Prado-Pena. Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Cynthia Joyner, 31, of Chattanooga, was killed in the crash. Cynthia Joyner, 31, of Chattanooga, was killed in the crash.
SMYRNA, Tenn. -

Police are searching for a man who fled the scene of a fatal crash early Saturday morning in Smyrna.

The crash occurred just after 3 a.m. on Interstate 24 at mile marker 66 near Sam Ridley Parkway.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 35-year-old Ruben Prado-Pena was driving a Chevy Tahoe on the wrong side of the roadway, heading westbound in eastbound lanes.

Prado-Pena struck a Ford Fiesta head-on, sending the vehicle spinning into the retaining wall.

His vehicle was thrown sideways across two lanes of eastbound traffic.

Four people were in the Fiesta at the time of the collision.  Three of those passengers were injured and one was killed.

Cynthia Joyner, 31, of Chattanooga, was pronounced dead on the scene.

The driver, 30-year-old Shanna Phillips, and passengers Joey Harvey and 39-year-old Jack Gillard sustained injuries in the crash.

Prado-Pena, the at-fault driver, was nowhere to be found when authorities arrived.

He is believed to have fled on foot.

After the accident, authorities began a ground search centered on the intersection of Mason Road and Industrial Boulevard in La Vergne.

The search had to be called off Saturday afternoon due to extreme heat.  Two state troopers and several officers with the La Vergne Police Department were treated for heat exhaustion.  One was hospitalized.

"We've exhausted our troopers.  We've been out in the field doing everything we can to locate this individual," said THP Sergeant Bill Miller at the time of the search.

He continued, "There's always the unfortunate possibility that he might have slipped through the cracks before we got our perimeter set up."

Prado-Pena will be charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash and more charges are pending.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ruben Prado-Pena is urged to call the Tennessee Highway Patrol at 615-741-2060.

Two other vehicles drove through debris from the crash, but were not involved in any collisions and passengers did not sustain any injuries.

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