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NATIONAL BRIEFING / TENNESSEE

4 killed in crash on foggy highway

October 26, 2008|Times Wire Reports

An SUV carrying four high school cheerleaders hit an oncoming car whose passengers included a pregnant woman and a baby on a wet, foggy highway in rural northeastern Tennessee, killing four people, authorities said Saturday.

The SUV hydroplaned on a curve on the two-lane highway late Friday night, flipped on its side and crossed the center lane, slamming into an oncoming Ford Taurus, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokeswoman Laura McPherson said. The SUV erupted into flames.

Three of the girls in the SUV died. The surviving passenger was ejected from the vehicle and was in critical condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Police identified the dead as Scarlette A. Hill, 17; Jaime Hill, 15; and driver Shirley N. Hughett, 16. The survivor is Ashley Mason, 15.

A passenger in the car, Jeweline Ledbetter King, 49, was killed. A 22-year-old pregnant woman, Miranda King, was sitting in the back seat and lost her unborn child from injuries in the crash. The car's driver, Malcum King, 22, and a 10-month-old child, Aiden Wilson, also were taken to a hospital with injuries.

Investigators believe the crash was caused in part by the slick and foggy conditions, and a preliminary report indicated none of the girls in the SUV was wearing a seat belt, McPherson said.

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