Note: This story was updated at 3:40 p.m.
The driver has been identified in a fatal single-vehicle crash into Bull Run Creek in Claxton on Thursday night.
The driver, Douglas A. Batson, 66, of Knoxville, was traveling west in a 2007 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle on New Henderson Road at about 9:20 p.m. Thursday when he turned on his signal to make a right turn, according to rescuers and a fatality report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Batson drove off the right side of the road, the report said.
“The vehicle then struck some wooden pylons and then went into the river and then sank to the bottom,” the report said.
The cause of the death is still being investigated, the THP said.
The crash occurred on a straight stretch of New Henderson Road along the water about 1/2 mile west of Bull Run Road, past Bull Run Park.
The THP report said Batson is not suspected of drinking or using drugs. It’s not known if he was wearing a seat belt, or if that would have made a difference.
Batson’s body was removed from the water, but his vehicle remained submerged for several more hours. A dive team from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office helped locate the Highlander and remove it from the water at about midnight.
The crash is being investigated by THP Trooper Jacob Wiser.
There is no guardrail along the road in that area and a minimal roadside shoulder if any, with a drop-off down to the water. There are wooden pylons, or barrier posts, alongside the road; it’s not clear if they were once used for guardrails.
This is the second crash into the water in that general area in about the past two years. In the previous crash, in March 2017, a Knoxville man, who was then 38, crashed into the wide river-like section of the creek in a car that had been reported stolen in Knox County. That man had minor injuries and had several charges filed against him.
Bull Run Creek is in a valley just over the ridge from the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton.
More information will be added as it becomes available.