The Tennessee Highway Patrol on Tuesday released the identities of two people killed in a single-vehicle crash New Year's Day on Interstate 24 in Montgomery County.
The wreck was reported around 4:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes at mile marker 8 near Clarksville, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The vehicle, driven by Andre A. Lynch, 27, of Clarksville, TN, was traveling westbound on I-24 at a high rate of speed.
Police said Lynch lost control at a curve, slid sideways into the median and hit a tree. Lynch and his passenger, Herschel Quintero, 23, of Brooklyn, NY, were both killed.
2012 was deadly year on TN roads
After seeing more than 1,000 traffic deaths in 2012, police across Tennessee are worried the state could see the troubling trend continue for this new year.
"We preach, 'drive the speed limit, buckle your seat belts, be alert.' And it's the same message last year that we'll be preaching again this year," said Ted Denny, with the Montgomery Co. sheriff's office.
On Tennessee's roads, the Department of Safety reported 938 traffic fatalities in 2011, which was the lowest number since 1962.
However, in 2012, more than 1,000 people were killed on the roads, so drivers can expect new efforts to bring those numbers back down.
"We are going to continue our statistical analysis and hit the high crash areas," said Clarksville Police Ofc. Jim Knoll.
Law enforcement leaders say they plan to emphasize the governor's top highway safety programs such as "Booze It and Lose It," which revokes licenses from those convicted of drinking and driving.
"Speed is a major factor in most crashes, drinking and driving. The message this year is don't speed, don't drink and drive and wear your seat belt," Denny said.
"I know here, failure to yield, speeding, following too closely - those are our main causes of crashes. They're preventable-type crashes, so we just have to get the public to work with us to help them," Knoll said.
THP officials have released no indication that alcohol was involved in the wreck along I-24 early Tuesday, but the Tennessee Department of Transportation continues to focus on alcohol in curbing these traffic fatalities. They estimate alcohol contributes to 35 percent of crash deaths in the United States.
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