Both sides of Interstate 24 shut down around 12:30 a.m. Thursday for several hours as emergency responders responded to a series of accidents that left at least two dead, including a pedestrian and a person in a vehicle that hit a TDOT HELP Truck.
The closures happened between Interstate 840 and Almaville Road, Rutherford County Fire & Rescue (RCFR) said.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Joey Story wrote in a report that Martha Caldwell, 64, of Murfreesboro was walking along the edge of I-24 Westbound near Mile Marker 70. She stepped out into the roadway into the path of a tractor-trailer, which was unable to avoid striking her, resulting in her death. The semi was hauling a load of bicycles, the report said. No citations were issued.
The THP is not currently releasing details of the second fatality, saying the investigation is on-going.
However, Kathryn Schulte, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, confirmed that the second fatality happened when a vehicle hit a TDOT HELP Truck, resulting in the death of someone in the car that hit the truck. The HELP Truck was providing traffic control. The TDOT worker was not in the truck and was not injured.
Other agencies that responded to the accidents included Almaville Volunteer Fire Rescue Department, Rutherford County EMS, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department, according to RCFR.
RCFR’s Facebook page shared a post by its Lt. Matthew T. Lupo, who said, “Over the last week I have been involved in two incidents where emergency vehicles have been struck while on scene at another incident (one of them was mine). This is scary to say the least. Everyone please slow down and move over. I know you have somewhere to go but someone else is having a worse day. To all my family, friends, and colleagues in emergency services, please be careful and protect yourself out there. Watch each other’s backs and always position those rigs defensively because you never know when it will be your shield.”