Driver sought in fatal wrong-way crash on I-24 - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Driver sought in fatal wrong-way crash on I-24

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SMYRNA, TN (WSMV) -

State troopers are searching for a suspected wrong-way driver after a crash killed one person on Interstate 24 in Rutherford County early Saturday morning.

Police were out along Industrial Boulevard near Mason Road in La Vergne on Saturday afternoon. Multiple police cars and a helicopter were taking part in the search. Extra units were called out to provide water, and some officers had to be treated for heat exhaustion, La Vergne public information officer Kathy Tyson told Channel 4.

Troopers said they decided to call off the search Saturday afternoon due to the heat.

Troopers said Ruben Prado-Pena, 35, of Nashville was driving a Chevy Tahoe on I-24 East near Sam Ridley Parkway and hit another car head-on.

The crash closed the interstate for five hours early Saturday morning.

Timothy McMillen said he drove by closure on his way to work.

"There was an officer blocking off the ramp to get on," McMillen said. "But down the road there was a bunch of officers. Then the helicopters came out."

McMillen said when he got to work all the talk was about Prado-Pena.

"People at my work had his picture on their phone," McMillen said.

Troopers said the crashed killed Cynthia Joyner from Chattanooga and injured three others in the car.

McMillen said he recognizes the pain faced by the families of the crash victims because he was also hit by a drunk driver.

"I feel for the families," McMillen said. "It's a hard thing to deal with."

Officers continue their efforts to find Prado-Pena. At the same time, they're asking for the help of those who know him.

"We don't want this crash to be on his loved one's conscious," Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Miller said. "If they give him safe harbor and do not turn him in or convince him to turn himself in, this does not need to be on their conscious."

If you've seen Prado-Pena you're asked to call your local police department or the THP Nashville district office at 615-741-2060.

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