published Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

No fog in area when two killed in I-75 pileup in Bradley County

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  • photo
    Vehicles inch along as traffic is stalled on I-75 after an accident in Bradley County left two people dead.
    Photo by Ellis Smith /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CHARLESTON, Tenn. -- Fog was not a factor in a Monday morning pileup that killed two men on Interstate 75 northbound, officials said.

Although the accident occurred in a fog zone around the Hiwassee River, no fog was present when the accident took place about 4 a.m., said Jennifer Flynn, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation's division office in Chattanooga.

The two men died when a tractor-trailer carrying live poultry slammed into the rear of another truck that then rammed a Tennessee Highway Patrol car.

One of the men killed was working for an Ohio contractor to replace reflective lenses on the road. He was identified as Nicolas S. Feller, 28, of Shandon, Ohio.

The poultry truck's driver, the other casualty, was identified as Charles Thomas Morgan, 53, of Rutledge, Tenn.

Morgan was not wearing a safety belt, according to an initial report by investigating officer Sgt. Phillip Dunn of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

State Trooper Travis Ryans, who was providing the safety escort for the workers, was taken to a hospital in Athens, Tenn., for treatment.

The accident took place just south of the Hiwassee River, and the poultry truck hit the contractor's vehicle which was pushed into Ryan's cruiser, according to Tennessee Department of Safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls.

The interstate was reopened to traffic at 11:45 a.m.

Flynn said no TDOT vehicles or personnel were involved in the accident.

The Bradley County Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched to free the trapped poultry truck driver, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The highway worker was employed by Traffic Specialists, Inc. of Shandon, Ohio, Flynn said. The company is working on a project to replace reflective lenses in TDOT's 24-county Region Two. The work is done between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. when traffic is typically at its lightest, Flynn said.

The project costs $275,381 and is scheduled to be finished on or before Nov. 30, she said.

Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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