A Ford van that had crashed alongside Melton Lake Drive plunged down a steep hillside and into the Clinch River after a tow cable snapped Wednesday night, authorities said.
The white van had crashed into rocks and trees at the crest of a hill on a curved section of Melton Lake Drive between Rivers Run and Rolling Links boulevards in east Oak Ridge. The van was in trees about 25 feet off the road when the tow truck arrived, authorities said.
The van was hung up on rocks and trees, and when the tow truck tried to pull it out, the wrecker’s cable snapped. The van rolled down the hill and into the river, where it sank. Authorities estimated it’s about 100 feet down the embankment. The slope is steep enough that you can’t see the bottom from the top.
The crash was reported at about 9:50 p.m. Wednesday. Melton Lake Drive was closed for about an hour as the Oak Ridge Police Department and Oak Ridge Fire Department investigated.
The driver of the van, who was not in the vehicle when it plunged into the river, was taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment of reported injuries.
Debris that appeared to be from the crash remained scattered next to Melton Lake Greenway at the top of the embankment on Thursday. There was part of a blinker, a mirror, broken glass, and other debris. There were small broken trees at the top of the steep slope near the apparent site of the crash, and an oil slick was visible on the surface of the water below.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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