Note: This story was last updated at 12:10 p.m. Sept. 11.
Six people were injured in one crash involving four motorcycles and two more were injured in a second crash involving two vehicles and a semi on Interstate 75 in Anderson County on Saturday morning, authorities said.
The two crashes occurred about 30 minutes apart in the northbound and southbound lanes of I-75 near mile marker 127, near Rocky Top (the former Lake City).
Two University of Tennessee Lifestar medical helicopters responded, and all four lanes were temporarily closed.
The first crash was reported at about 10:16 a.m, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol preliminary crash report.
Four Harley Davidson motorcycles were traveling north in one lane of I-75 at mile marker 127 when the first motorcycle, a 2003 model driven by George Suver, 70, left the right shoulder and then swerved back into the lane, the THP said.
Suver’s motorcycle then hit a 2004 Harley Davidson being driven by Neal Mutter, 62, causing both vehicles to crash, the THP said.
A third motorcycle, a 2012 Harley Davidson driven by Tom Kelly, 59, slowed down because of the crash of the first two motorcycles when he was hit from behind by a 2001 Harley Davidson driven by Howard Whitaker, 58.
All four riders were injured. So were two passengers, Patty Mutter, 60, who was on the second motorcycle, and Kathryn Kelly, 57, who was on the third.
The four motorcycle drivers and two passengers are from Springfield, Ohio, and all six were wearing helmets. No charges have been filed, the THP said.
The second crash, involving a semi and two other vehicles, was reported a half-hour later in the same area, at about 11:15 a.m. on southbound I-75 at mile marker 126.5.
The THP said a 2016 Kia Sportage driven by Bogoslaw Kiepek, 67, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and a 1996 Jeep Cherokee driven by Thomas Holden, 57, of Lafollette, had slowed down for slower traffic ahead.
But a 2017 Freightliner truck tractor driven by Michael Kalebic, 62, of Las Vegas, was unable to stop, the THP said. It hit the Kia in the rear, and the Kia was pushed into the Jeep Cherokee, according to a preliminary crash report.
The Jeep Cherokee went off the left side of the road and stopped in the median.
Kiepek, who was in the Kia, was injured. So was a passenger, Arlene Kiepek, 69, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kalebic, the truck driver, was not injured. Neither was Holden, who was in the Jeep Cherokee.
All four people involved in that second crash were wearing seat belts, and no charges have been filed, the THP said.
Besides the THP, other law enforcement agencies that responded included Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Anderson County EMS, Anderson County Rescue Squad, Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department, and Medford Volunteer Fire Department. The Tennessee Department of Transportation also responded with personnel and its HELP truck.
“Due to the number of injured, Campbell County EMS also responded with an ambulance for mutual aid,” said Mark Lucas, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department chief deputy. Anderson County EMS sent three ambulances and their shift supervisors.
Lucas said a third Lifestar helicopter was launched but canceled.
He said two of the injured were taken to area hospitals by Lifestar, four by Anderson County EMS, and two by Campbell County EMS.
Emergency crews were at the crash site for about an hour-and-a-half, Lucas said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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