KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was killed in a wreck as a result of the icy conditions Friday morning.
The accident happened around 6:30 a.m. near the intersection of Longmire Lane and Emory Road near Corryton in Northeast Knox County.
Trooper Michael Slagle, 53, was driving in his cruiser when the vehicle slid off the side of Longmire Road while he was on his way to work at the supreme court. He was able to call for help.
“They called for a wrecker and a couple of hours go by and no one could get in touch with him,” said Lt. Michael Melhorn with THP.
That’s when his wife showed up at the scene with another bystander.
“They tried to talk to him. He was unresponsive,” said Lt. Melhorn. “They called 911. That’s when the fire truck shows up on the scene, slides to Trooper Slagle’s car and struck a bystander as well.”
The accident was not a factor in the trooper’s death.
“There was no connection,” he said. “None whatsoever. The fire truck showed up to help and actually slid off the road into Trooper Slagle’s vehicle.”
Slagle was unable to be revived at the scene. THP later reported that the trooper had died of natural causes, reportedly a heart attack.
“Trooper Slagle was a 26-year veteran of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He was a model trooper and a good man. It is a very sad day for our Highway Patrol family and all who knew Michael,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Our prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”
“Mike is a very easy going trooper, very easy to get along with,” said Melhorn. “Everybody liked him. Just a great guy and he will be missed by a lot of people.”
A firefighter also sustained minor injuries and a bystander suffered a broken collarbone. Both were transported to local hospitals.
Trooper Michael Slagle joined the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1986. Originally from Grainger County, he was initially assigned to Campbell County.
During his tenure, he served in both Union and Knox Counties before his current assignment in the Supreme Court detail in Knox County.
Trooper Slagle became a field training officer in 2000. Outside of his duties as a state trooper, he also helped provide security for the University of Tennessee marching band in 2003.
Prior to becoming a state trooper, Trooper Slagle served as a Deputy Sheriff for the Grainger County Sheriff’s Office from 1978-1985.
He is a 1978 graduate of Rutledge High School in Grainger County.
Trooper Slagle is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.