Two employees of the Tennessee Department of Transportation were flown to a Nashville hospital Thursday following a serious crash on Interstate 24.
The accident happened on I-24 West near mile marker 99 just northwest of Manchester around 1:45 p.m.
Traffic was already backing up in the area due to a previous crash and crews were also mowing the lawn further down the interstate.
The TDOT workers, 54-year-old Tony Hayworth and 50-year-old David Shelton, noticed the backup and decided to get into their utility truck and turn on a flashing sign that read “move over” in order to alert oncoming traffic.
Officials said William Gardner, 63, was driving a tractor trailer when he reportedly failed to merge left. He slammed into the back of the TDOT truck, knocking it across the emergency lane and causing it to strike a rock wall.
The tractor trailer then jack-knifed and also hit the wall.
The men were flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Shelton was listed in stable condition as of Friday morning. Hayworth had already been discharged.
Gardner, the truck driver, was injured, but was not transported to the hospital.
All lanes of I-24 West were closed following the crash but reopened around 5:40 p.m.
TDOT officials say the accident should serve as a reminder for drivers to watch for workers on the road.
"Always be aware of your surroundings, whether it's construction zones or an incident up the road, always be aware of what's coming up the road. Our workers are out there for a reason. If you see flashing lights, move over," said Heather Jensen, Community Relations Officer for TDOT.
Charges against the tractor trailer driver are pending.