On Saturday morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol released a preliminary report on the incident. The victim is identified as John G. Buck Jr., 49, of Johnson City.
He was reportedly not wearing his seatbelt, but considering the extremely violent collision, the investigating trooper does not believe it would have saved his life.
At about 5:45 p.m., Buck was traveling north near mile maker 55. He reportedly lost control of his Jeep Grand Cherokee, veered left and crossed the median, striking a southbound Toyota.
The driver of that vehicle, a 25-year-old woman from Rogersville, was injured in the crash. The extent of her injuries is not specified in the THP’s preliminary report. She was using her seatbelt.
Cleanup and investigation of the wreck snarled I-81 traffic for hours. Both southbound lanes were closed, along with one lane of northbound travel.