A huge construction headache for Nashville drivers became the scene of a crime last weekend when a driver plowed through the barricade blocking the ramps to Interstate 24, sending workers scrambling for cover.
It had been business as usual for the I-24 project scheduled to wrap up next month until the scary crash. And it turns out the man behind the wheel should not have been driving at all.
"There's so much going on here. There's so many ways a person can get hurt," said project inspector John Crosslin.
But this weekend revealed a hazard Crosslin may have taken for granted.
"Maybe a little bit of anger, you know. We've got a closed road - police officers, barricades, barrels. How could this happen?" Crosslin said.
According to Metro police, Emmett Harvell sped past a barricade at I-24 and Woodland Street early Saturday. As construction workers ducked for cover, Harvell's car sped through and soon slammed into a generator and a nearby truck.
Surveillance video shows his speed and the force of the impact, which still shocks those who were nearby on the crowded worksite.
"First thing you think is, 'Is everybody okay? What has happened?'" Crosslin said. "I saw workers scattering, and some of them looked like they were sliding down the slope. So I'm thinking 'My goodness what happened?'"
To make things worse, Harvell should not have been driving at all after the state revoked his license for a previous DUI.
"These men and women who are out here working are someone else's family members, so we certainly want them to be as protected as your loved one when they go to work," said Deanna Lambert, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Harvell told police he was drinking at Donk's Bar & Grill on Trinity Lane earlier in the night. Now, he faces charges of DUI, violating implied consent and driving with a revoked license.
At the work site, the project will continue this weekend with a renewed push for safety.
"There were people right there. I just walked through, myself, maybe 30 seconds earlier," Crosslin said. "It could've been a lot worse."
Harvell is scheduled to appear in court at the end of the month.
TDOT expects to finish the I-24 project over the course of four more weekends.
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