Staff Photo by Harrison Keely/Chattanooga Times Free Press A car involved in a wreck that killed four near Niota, Tenn., is loaded onto a wrecker Friday.
NIOTA, Tenn. -- A family of four and a fetus were killed in a head-on collision with a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer Friday on state Highway 68 at County Road 292.
The accident happened shortly after noon, Lt. Daniel Ruskey of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.
Ruskey said the truck driver escaped the vehicle before it burst into flames. The man was not treated for any injuries, he said.
"They [authorities] say that the car drifted into the other lane and hit the tractor-trailer," said Allen Shoemaker, fire chief of the Union Grove Volunteer Fire Department.
The truck was traveling west and the red Dodge Neon was going east when the crash occurred, Ruskey said, but he declined to discuss the cause of the crash.
The family killed at the scene included a pregnant mother, father and two children about 3 and 2 years old, who were in the back seat, Shoemaker said.
Ruskey said the family was from the East Tennessee area but declined to elaborate.
"This is probably one of the worst [crashes] I've been involved with in 15 years with the Highway Patrol," Ruskey said.
Two eyewitnesses saw the crash and likely called 911, Ruskey said.
The road was closed off but was on schedule to be reopened Friday night, Ruskey said.
Harrison Keely is an online breaking news producer for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He also anchors the daily newscast. He joined the Times Free Press as a reporter in 2010. He previously served as managing editor of the Smoky Mountain Sentinel in western North Carolina and as a business reporter for the Washington Times in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Lee University in 2009 where he served as managing editor of the student news ...