A local man was killed in a fiery crash Friday morning on Interstate 40 in Knoxville when his vehicle slammed head-on into an oncoming tractor trailer.
The victim, Scott Lakeland (Lake) Hankdal, 24, apparently entered the interstate going the wrong way during the pre-dawn hours Friday morning, a mistake which had been made by others before in what some locals there call a confusing on-ramp. Hankal had recently moved to Knoxville.
According to preliminary reports on the crash, the accident happened around 2 a.m. Friday when Hankal entered the westbound lanes of I-40 near the Cherry Street exit in his Dodge pick up.
The driver of the tractor trailer, who suffered non-lifethreatening injuries, said he saw the vehicle coming toward him and tried to swerve to the right. However, at that instant Hankal apparently saw the oncoming semi and tried to swerve to the left, the two vehicles slamming head-on.
Both vehicles erupted in flames after impact. The truck driver in the Averitt Express truck was able to escape the inferno. The semi was loaded with plastics and auto parts. Both vehicles were totally consumed by the resulting fire.
The interstate remained closed for several hours Friday morning as firemen doused the flames and investigators began their probe into what caused the accident.
Hankal’s services will be handled by McMinnville Funeral Home. Arrangements are expected sometime early this week once his remains are returned to McMinnville.