Road rage crash causes death in Murfreesboro - WSMV Channel 4

Road rage crash causes death in Murfreesboro

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Police said it was a case of road rage during rush hour traffic in Murfreesboro on Friday morning that lead to a fatal crash.  The driver involved in the wreck is being sought by police after they left the scene.

The family of the victim, James Smithey, Jr., 55, gathered outside Middle Tennessee Medical Center trying to make sense of what happened on Friday.

"We're all here together trying to get through it," Smithey's niece, Nicole Winfrey said. "It's a very upsetting time for our family."

Smithey was driving along Northwest Broad Street in Murfreesboro just before 7 a.m. on his way to take his three grandchildren to school. Witnesses told police Smithey and another driver were battling back and forth on the road.

"The guy cut him off and slammed on his brakes in front of him, and he tried to avoid hitting him," Winfrey said.

He lost control of the truck and hit a concrete barrier.

"The truck completely flipped and rolled over four times," Winfrey said.

Smithey was thrown from the truck and pronounced dead on the scene. His grandchildren Paige Gordan, 14, Joshua Morera, 8, and Joseph Morera, 7, were taken to the hospital. The boys were treated and released. Gordan suffered several cuts, had to receive stitches and remains in the hospital.

"I thank God that they are still alive," said the children's father, Reynardo Morera.

Smithey, a cancer survivor, wasn't wearing a seatbelt, according to police. The 55-year-old apparently had a doctor's excuse not to wear his seatbelt because he wears a colostomy bag.

"It's just really hard because for so long he fought for his life, and then somebody one day just takes it away from it and runs away from it," Winfrey said.

"I looked over and there was a car spinning sideways.  We thought it was coming at us," witness Timothy Young said.

Young and his mother had just arrived to work at Young's Auto Salvage when the tragic crash occurred.

"I stood there in awe for a moment, and then I realized I needed to help," Young said.

 The driver of the other vehicle kept going, according to witnesses.

Witnesses told police they saw the white Oldsmobile that was involved turn into Gate 12 at the Nissan plant in Smyrna.

Investigators are not sure if the person is an employee or if he just used the parking lot to turn around.

"It was just very cowardly of them to run a car off the road with three kids in it and wreck them and take a person life," Winfrey said.

Investigators have requested a copy of surveillance video showing the entrance and exit of the Nissan Gate. They are hoping the video will help lead to the identification and arrested of the other driver.

Smithey's family said he didn't have any health or life insurance, so they need help with his burial.

A memorial account has been set up in the name of James Smithey, Jr.  The pubic can make donations at any Fifth Third Bank branch.

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