A McMinnville man was killed Saturday when his vehicle ran off the road in DeKalb County and careened off a bluff near the old VFW.
The driver, Larry Jones, 45, was fatally injured in the crash while his passenger, Brandon Temple, 33, of Hendersonville was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for treatment of critical injuries.
An investigation of the crash revealed Jones failed to navigate a curve as he was traveling east in his 2001 Chevy Blazer on Highway 70 in DeKalb County. The stretch of highway connects Smithville to Sparta. Witnesses said he was weaving prior to losing control, running off the road and striking a post and then hitting the old VFW sign.
“The vehicle disintegrated the sign and continued on over a bluff,” said Highway Patrol Sgt. Jimmy Jones, estimating the bluff was at least a 100-foot drop. “They missed the trees on the way down, aside from some saplings and ended up landing upside down.”
Jones said both men were wearing their seatbelts and had to be cut loose once rescuers made their way down to the wreckage.
Emergency workers placed the victims in a rescue basket and brought them back to the top of the hill.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.