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April 28--Two people were killed and a third seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle Sunday morning on Interstate 40 West near Cedar Bluff.
At about 10:10 a.m. Sunday, Knoxville Police Department officers responded to multiple reports of three pedestrians struck on I-40 West. Two were pronounced dead at the scene; the third was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with severe injuries.
KPD said a 1963 VW Beetle had broken down on I-40 west between Cedar Bluff Road and Pellissippi Parkway with two occupants, Joshua Hensley, 23, and Brittany Branch, 20, both of Knoxville. Jake Jennings, 21, of Knoxville had stopped his 1996 Nissan Skyline to see if he could assist Henley and Branch, when Francisco Javier Zarate-Rodriguez, 21, of Knoxville lost control of his 2002 Honda Accord and slammed into Hensley, Branch, Jennings and their vehicles, KPD said.
Hensley and Jennings were pronounced dead on the scene, and Branch was transported to UTMC with serious injuries. Rodriguez and his passenger also were taken to UTMC, where Zarate-Rodriguez was treated and released and immediately transported to the Safety Building to be interviewed by investigators. His passenger, who had to be extricated from the vehicle by Knoxville Fire Department, was being treated for what appeared to non-life-threatening injuries.
Zarate-Rodriguez is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of vehicular assault, driving without a License, no insurance, and failure to maintain control of his vehicle. He is being held on a $525,000 bond.
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