Authorities said the three Oak Ridge High School football players injured in a Tuesday afternoon crash were not wearing seat belts, and the driver has been charged after the car he was driving crashed into a utility pole in Blount County.
Preliminary information from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the 2000 Ford Taurus was being driven northbound on U.S. 321, also known as Lamar Alexander Parkway, by a 17-year-old unidentified juvenile from Oak Ridge, when the male driver let the vehicle exit the northbound lane, where it then entered into the center turning lane.
“The driver then crossed over the turn lane and entered into the southbound lanes of Highway 321,” the THP said. “The vehicle then crossed over both the southbound lanes and shoulder, where it struck a curb before it entered into a grass field area. The vehicle then struck a high spot of earth in the field, which made the vehicle go airborne.”
The report said the Taurus hit a utility pole in Fur Paws parking lot while it was in the air.
The THP said the driver is a juvenile and his name cannot be released because he is being charged and may receive additional charges. Charges listed in the report include a failure to maintain lane, due care, seat belt, and no insurance. Criminal charges are pending, the report said.
The driver was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
The passengers are listed as DeVonta Mitchell, 15, and Davon Middleton, 16, both of Oak Ridge. Mitchell was flown by a medical helicopter to UT Medical Center, and Middleton was taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital.
The single-vehicle crash occurred at about 3:41 p.m. Tuesday near John Helton Road.
The third occupant of the car has been identified as Jaylen Nickerson. On Wednesday, UT Medical Center said Nickerson and Mitchell were in serious condition at the hospital. Middleton was reportedly treated for a concussion at Blount Memorial and released.
All three are members of the Oak Ridge Wildcats football team. Nickerson, who will be a senior this year, is a running back; Middleton, who will also be a senior, is a defensive back; and Mitchell, who will be a junior, is a wide receiver.
See the report by the Maryville Daily Times here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.