Caught on Camera: Wrong-way driver moments before fatal crash
Reported By Jamey Tucker, Video Journalist - bio | email
An officer's dash cam video caught Tavares Natt traveling the wrong way on I-40 just moments before a fatal crash.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
For the first time, Metro police have released dash cam video of a wrong-way driver moments before a fatal accident.
The video, captured by a camera on the dash of Metro police officer Russ Ward, shows an approaching car's headlights passing by the police cruiser during the early morning hours of July 27.
"You see the wrong way driver traveling at a high rate of speed, traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-40," Sgt. Bob Sheffield, Metro's dayside shift commander for the crash investigation team, explained.
Less than 20 seconds after the car passed the officer, the wrong-way driver hit another car.
Tavares Natt of Hermitage was driving the wrong way car, according to police. The driver of the other vehicle, 66-year-old Gary Hendrix, was killed when he was hit by Natt, police said. Natt also died.
"We don't know for sure [how long Natt drove the wrong way]," Sheffield continued. "By some stretch of the imagination they could have traveled all the way from west Nashville the wrong way until they met up with the wrong car."
Officer Ward stopped his patrol car and reported the wrong-way driver to dispatch. Sheffield told News 2 that was all he could do.
"The departmental manual specifically states that in the pursuit driving guidelines you shall not pursue a vehicle traveling the wrong way on a controlled access road," he said. "If you think about it, you've already got this one vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on an interstate at 3 o'clock in the morning, you making the decision, an officer making the decision to try to apprehend that driver, in my own opinion, it doubles the chances of something extremely serious occurring."
A toxicology report on Natt is pending with the state medical examiner.
Hendrix's wife told Nashville's News 2 her husband was on his way to pick up their daughter from her 10-year class reunion.