Local doctor dies in Houston County wreck - WSMV Channel 4

Local doctor dies in Houston County wreck

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Donnie Lewis Donnie Lewis
© Leaf Chronicle © Leaf Chronicle
ERIN, TN (WSMV) -

A local optometrist was killed after a wreck involving two vehicles Friday morning in Houston County.

Donnie Lewis, OD, PhD, 65, of Cumberland City, TN, died in the wreck about 9:45 a.m. after his Cadillac XLR collided into a propane tanker truck at the intersection of Highway 49 and Circle Drive in Erin, TN.

Lewis was owner of a Clarksville and Franklin LensCrafters where he served as chief optometrist. Lewis was also a current Houston County commissioner and had served in that capacity for 34 years.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated and said Lewis' vehicle went completely beneath the trailer.

The driver of the tanker, Virgil Dennis Jr., 46, was not injured.

Investigators said Dennis was wearing a seat belt but Lewis was not restrained.

According to the THP, no citations were issued and blood samples were taken from both drivers to be tested while the investigation continued.

Lewis grew up in Erin and was the valedictorian of his class at Austin Peay State University before attending the Southern College of Optometry, where he earned his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1975. In addition to the optometry degree, Lewis had achieved a Doctorate degree in Epidemiology from East Tennessee State University, as well as a Master's degree in Public Health.

At his Erin home Saturday, Lewis' son and daughters gathered around a computer watching a Christmas light display set to music. Every year, cars would pull into their drive to watch a show of thousands of lights their father carefully crafted. His children said the reason he did it is the same reason he did anything - to serve his community.

"We're just really proud of Donnie here in Houston County," said Houston County Mayor George Clark. "He was always wanting to do right by the citizens that he represented."

Taking part in the OneSight program, Lewis gave thousands of free eye exams to the community and distributed hundreds of glasses around the world.

"I'm very lucky I got 13 years to work with him," said Steven Lewis. "I'm very privileged, and that's something I will always remember and think very fondly about. I hope he looks down, and he's very proud of me. I've just really tried to live up to the expectations he set as a person."

Visitation for Donnie Lewis is being held this Monday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Naves Funeral home in Erin. His funeral will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Spring Hill Methodist in Erin.

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