SHELBY CO., Tenn. — The tractor-trailer at the center of the major crash on Interstate-40 was stolen, according to the rental company.
According to the release from Penske,
"The vehicle involved in the accident was not driven or operated by Penske. We are a truck rental company. A commercial trucking company rented the vehicle from Penske. However, it is Penske’s understanding that our customer reported the rental semi-truck involved in this accident as stolen to police. As this is an ongoing investigation, we would defer additional questions to local law enforcement. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation. Penske extends its sincere condolences to the loved ones of those victims involved in this tragic accident."
THP told FOX13 two TDOT contractors were struck and killed during a the crash. A state trooper was also injured when he was struck while inside his patrol vehicle.
22-year-old Jared Helton and 30-year-old Justin Stafford were killed in the crash, according to A & A Safety, based outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The pair lived in Kentucky. Helton had been with the company for two years and Stafford just under a year.
We learned one other contractor. 22-year-old Cody Cantrell, was injured in the crash, according to a spokesperson for the company.
Officers told us a trooper was struck and is in non-critical condition.
"It was definitely preventable," said Sgt. Chris Richardson, THP.
TDOT told us the contractors were working in a mobile work zone within a lane closure, replacing the snow plowable markers along the interstate.
"We were behind them to warn the motoring public they were up there, so they could have a chance to slow down and move over," Sgt. Richardson said.
But the driver of the semi didn't move over. The driver crashed into the trooper and it is still unclear if the trooper's car then hit the contractors or if it was the semi.
"It just goes to show how everybody should be aware and should be practicing the Move Over Law," Sgt. Richardson said.
The trooper's car was smashed, and he is in non-critical condition tonight, with a punctured lung and broken ribs.
The trooper has not been identified.
"He's expected to be okay," Sgt. Richardson said.
Investigators told us the truck driver at Regional One and the name has not been released.
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