KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) — The driver of a tractor-trailer that hit a van alongside an interstate in east Tennessee — killing four people who were changing a tire and critically injuring another — was impaired, police said.
Saul A. Carrera, 60, of New York, was driving a Peterbilt tractor-trailer south on Interstate 81 Sunday when the vehicle veered to the right onto the shoulder and sideswiped the white Chevrolet Express van, hitting five males who were trying to repair the tire, Kingsport Police said in a statement. Afterward, the tractor-trailer continued south for a short distance before jack-knifing and overturning, police said.
Jesse James Delacruz, 49, of Fayetteville, Tennessee; Jose Urbano Serrano Ramos, 25, of Crossville, Alabama; a 17-year-old male from Crossville; and another male who hasn’t yet been identified were killed. A 17-year-old male from Gasden, Alabama, was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but he was later updated to stable, police said. Three men from Gasden who stayed in the van weren’t injured.
“Based upon officers’ observations and evidence collected at the scene, investigators established probable cause to determine that Mr. Carrera was operating the tractor-trailer while impaired,” the police statement said. It did not elaborate, and police said no further information would be released.
Carrera was charged with four counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication as well as reckless aggravated assault, felony reckless endangerment, driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle and failure to exercise due care, police said.
Carrera was taken to a hospital for his injuries and was booked Monday in the Sullivan County Jail. Online records don’t say whether he has an attorney.