KNOXVILLE (WATE) - One person was killed in a wrong-way crash early Wednesday morning that caused the closure of several eastbound lanes of I-40.
Police say 29-year-old Ricky Staley, of Knoxville, was going westbound in the eastbound lanes and crashed his Ford sedan head-on into a tractor-trailer. The wreck happened just before 2:30 a.m. near the Alcoa Highway exit.
Police say Staley was ejected from his car upon impact and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the truck was Bobby Rhinehart, 46, of Cullowhee, N.C. He suffered only minor injuries.
Rhinehart told police he attempted to avoid the on-coming car, but the headlights continued to come at him.
Police are unsure where the car entered the highway going in the wrong direction. Calls reporting a wrong way driver on I-40 were received by 911 operators just before the collision.
Eastbound lanes were closed while emergency crews responded to the accident. Eastbound traffic was being diverted to I-640.
All lanes were reopened at 6:00 a.m.