The crash blocked northbound traffic on Interstate 81 at mile marker 62, but authorities said the bus already had been evacuated and was empty at the time of the crash. There were no injuries.
On Saturday at about 8 p.m., the “bus carrying a college football team was traveling along Interstate 81 at mile-marker 62 in Kingsport when it experienced mechanical issues, resulting in a complete loss of power and lighting, and became disabled in the right northbound traffic lane. All occupants of the bus were promptly evacuated from the bus to the safety of the roadside,” according to a news release from Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton.
Shortly thereafter, Patton said, a northbound tractor trailer crashed into the incapacitated bus when the driver was unable to see it stopped in the traffic lane. The school’s Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/hashtag/AverettUniversity?src=hash included information about the crash.
The crash remains under investigation by the KPD, Patton said. However, he said no charges are expected. The team was on its way from an afternoon game with Maryville College. In that contest between the last two undefeated teams in the USA South Conference, Maryville won 14-0.
“Absolutely no injuries were sustained in the crash. The tractor trailer was hauling several thousand gallons of oil in quart-sized containers which were subsequently scattered across the roadway. Some of these containers ruptured resulting in oil spillage,” Patton said in the release.
TDOT was on scene and assisting with traffic congestion. The right northbound lane remained closed well after the accident; however, the left lane was open for traffic. Patton encouraged motorists to avoid this area for the next several hours and seek an alternate route to allow for the safe cleanup of the crash site. He asked motorists already in the immediate area to pay attention, exercise caution and patience and obey all traffic instructions.